Skip to main content

Full text of "The history of Paisley, from the Roman period down to 1884"

See other formats


m. 


'////''//vy, 


^.  o. 


HISTORY     OF     PAISLEY. 


VOL.  II, 


-^ /f^r^^u/z^L^ 


SVC' 

f/ 

THE  ./^"^ 


HISTORY     OF     PAISLEY,  ,_ 

FROM  THE  ROMAN  PERIOD  DOWN  TO  1884. 


ROBERT     BROWN,     F.  S.  A.,  Scot, 

UNDERWOOD  PARK,  PAISLEY. 

AUTHOR   OF 

'  THE  HISTORY  OF  THE  PAISLEY  GRAMMAR  SCHOOL  AND  ACADEMY 
AND  OF  THE  OTHER  TOWn's  SCHOOLS,"  ETC.,  ETC. 

IN     TWO     VOLUMES. 

VOLUME    II. 


WITH    NUMEROUS    ILLUSTRATIONS. 


PAISLEY: 
J.    &    J.    COOK,    PRINTERS    AND    PUBLISHERS, 

"GAZETTE"  BUILDINGS,  94  HIGH  STREET. 


MDCCCLXXXVI. 


t-Z-i^ 


2o/Y^^ 


CONTENTS 

OF  VOLUME  II. 


CHAPTER    XV. 

Pages 

Paisley  FROM  1750  till  1800, 9-97 

CHAPTER   XVI. 
Paisley  FROM  1800  till  1825, 98-217 

CHAPTER   XVn. 
Paisley  from  1825  till  1850, 218-314 

CHAPTER   XVHI. 
Paisley  from  1850  till  1884, 315-495 

Index,  496-507 


LIST     OF     ILLUSTRATIONS 

IN     VOLUME     II. 


1.  Portrait  of  the  Author,    Frontispiece. 

Page 

2.  Old  Tollbooth  and  Cross  Steeple,  lo 

3.  Plan  of  the  river  Cart,  by  Robert  Whitworth,  in  1786,  50 

4.  Illustrated  Map  of  Paisley,  by  ^Y.  Semple,  in  1 781,   90 

5.  County  Buildings,  Paisley,  120 

6.  Radical  Pike, 191 

7.  Radical  Cleg, 192 

8.  Architectural  elevation  of  the  west  facade  of  the  Abbey,     232 

9.  Martyrs'  Monument , 2S8 

10.  Halberd  of  Town  Ofiicers,  3°^ 

11.  The  John  Neilson  Educational  Institution,    32S 

12.  Armorial  Bearings  of  Hammermen's  Society,   381 

13.  Paisley  Free  Library  and  Museum,    384 

14.  George  A.  Clark  Town  Hall, 392 

1 5.  Paisley  Penny,  460 

16.  Farthing  of  Jervis  Coats  &  .Son, 460 

17.  Farthing  of  Peter  Taylor,  tobacconist,   461 

1 8.  The  Common  Seal  of  the  Burgh  of  Paisley, 461 

19.  Blackball  Castle, 492 

20.  Fac-siiiiile  of  the  Signatures  of  the  Bailies  of  Paisley,   from   1594  till 

1811,  and  of  the  Provosts  from  1S12  till  1884,     494 

21.  Map  of  Paisley  in  1884,    495 


HISTORY    OF    PAISLEY. 


CHAPTER     XV. 

1750    TILL    1800. 

N  the  latter  half  of  the  eighteenth  century,  the  period 
embraced  in  this  chapter,  the  Town  of  Paisley  made 
more  rapid  and  striking  progress  than  in  any  previous 
period  of  its  history.  This  statement  applies  not  only 
to  the  increase  of  population  and  erection  of  dwelling- 
houses,  and  places  of  worship,  and  other  public  buildings,  but  also 
to  the  starting  and  rapid  extension  of  new  industries,  and  the 
enlargement  of  those  that  had  been  commenced  in  earlier  periods. 
This  will  appear,  while  we  proceed  with  our  record  of  events,  as 
they  occurred,  and  as  we  give  an  account  of  the  progress  of  Paisley 
as  a  manufacturing  town. 

Of  the  properties  sold  by  the  Town  Council,  one  was  the  meeting- 
house in  Moss  Row,  already  frequently  referred  to.  It  was  bought 
by  Thomas  Kerr,  postmaster,  for  ;£io2  stg.,  under  a  burden  of  2s. 
of  annual  feu-duty ;  and  the  Council  reserved  a  piece  of  ground  at 
the  south  end  of  the  building,  extending  to  about  nine  feet  in 
breadth,  "  for  a  road  or  passage,  or  any  other  use  they  shall  think 
proper"  ( Council  Records,  25th  January,  1751).  On  31st  March, 
1 79 1,  the  Council  agreed  to  sell  the  Bark  Mill  and  ground  attached 
thereto,  at  the  Saucel  Bridge,  belonging  to  the  community.  On  6th 
September,  1792,  they  sold  to  "  John  Gibb,  vintner,  in  Paisley,  for 
;^2oo,  Woodneuk  and  Sergeants  Acre,"  adjoining  the  lands  of 
Ferguslie.  On  3rd  September,  1794,  they  authorised  the  Magis- 
trates to  offer  the  town's  old  houses  at  West  Steeple  to  Robert 
Speir,  merchant,  at  ^300. 

A  purchase  effected  by  the  Council  was  the  superiority  of  the 
lands  of  Carriagehill,  for  ;^63  iis.  8d.  stg.,  from  the  Earl  of 
Dundonald.  On  2nd  October,  1779,  they  agreed  to  purchase  from 
William  Stewart,  merchant,  his  houses  near  the  West  Steeple,  for 
^220  stg.  And  on  22nd  August,  1781,  they  bought  from  "John 
Snodgrass,  Sheriff-Clerk,  and  James  Renfrew,  smith,  sometime  in 
Chappell  of  Blackball,  now  in  Mains  of  Blackstone,"  for  ^{^300,  the 
tenement  in  Moss  Row,  adjoining  the  Tollbooth. 

We  have  already  frequently  referred  to  the  stringent  measures 
which  the  Magistrates  and  Council  adopted  for  checking  Sunday 


10  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

desecration.  It  appears  that,  notwithstanding  all  their  efforts,  they 
had  not  succeeded  by  their  enactments  in  enforcing  the  due  obser- 
vance of  the  Sabbath.  On  17th  April,  1752,  the  Council  "ordain 
the  visitors  or  privy  censures  to  be  appointed  for  taking  notice  of 
those  who  vague  or  stroll  on  the  streets  or  in  the  fields  on  the  Sab- 
bath day  as  formerly  was  appointed."  So  far  as  we  have  been  able 
to  discover,  this  is  the  last  time  the  Council  interfered  in  matters  of 
this  kind. 

On  19th  February,  1753,  John  Lang  was  elected  "one  of  the 
town  officers,"  and  also  to  be  "jailer  of  the  Tollbooth  jointly  with 
the  other  officers";  and  the  Magistrates  were  requested  "to  take 
his  oath  of  fidelity,"  and  to  receive  caution  from  him.  At  this 
meeting,  they  also  "  elected  William  Gordon  to  be  town  drummer 
and  for  ringing  the  town  bell,  and  for  which  he  is  to  have  ^^  stg. 
yearly  of  salary,"  besides  "  one  fourth  share  of  money  that  arises 
from  proclamations  made  by  tuck  of  drum." 

The  condition  of  the  Tollbooth  had  been  engaging  the  attention 
of  the  Council,  and  they  found  it  to  be  very  defective  in  several 
ways.  It  was  their  opinion  that  it  had  "  become  insufficient  for  de- 
taining prisoners,  and  has  been  for  some  time  past,  which  is  both  a 
loss  to  the  town,  and  by  the  escape  of  prisoners,  through  the  in- 
sufficiency of  the  prison,  the  community  run  a  very  great  risk."  In 
these  circumstances,  the  Council  resolved  that  the  Tollbooth  should 
be  taken  down,  and  the  Magistrates  were  authorised  "  to  get  a  plan 
made  out,  and  to  get  proper  materials  purchased  for  the  building, 
and  to  agree  with  tradesmen  for  the  building"^  (Council Records, 
23rd  January,  1756).  At  a  meeting  of  Council,  held  on  the  7th 
May  following,  "  several  plans  were  produced  for  the  new  Tollbooth, 
and  they  preferred  the  one  made  out  by  Bailie  Birkmyre."  On  9th 
July  thereafter,  they  had  under  their  consideration  the  condition  of 
the  steeple  adjoining  the  Tollbooth,  and  agreed  that  it  should  also 
be  rebuilt,  "  both  on  account  of  the  danger  of  falling  when  the  Toll- 
booth  walls  are  taken  down,  and  also  that  they  will  be  built  jointly 
with  more  convenience  and  usefulness."  At  this  meeting,  they  also 
agreed  "  that  there  be  piazzas  made  under  the  fore  part  of  the  Toll- 
booth."-  At  a  meeting  of  Council  held  on  15th  July  following,  we 
learn  that  as  they  had  several  plans  for  the  proposed  new  Tollbooth 
and  steeple,  they  agreed  to  submit  them  to  Mr.  Peters,  the  Deacon 
Convener,  Glasgow,  for  his  advice  as  to  the  best,  and  that  he  had 
"  approved  of  one  drawn  by  John  Whyte,  one  of  the  Council,  as  the 
best  and  fittest."  The  Council,  on  2nd  August  following,  adopted 
this  recommendation,  but  not  unanimously,  as  three  of  the  members 
of  Council,  one  of  whom  was  Bailie  Birkmyre,  objected,  for  various 
reasons.     On  nth  July,  1757,  the  Council,  "considering  it  will  be 

^  It  is  unfortunate  that  no  old  plan  or  view  of  any  kind  of  this  old  Tollbooth 
has  been  preserved. 

^  W.  Semple,  in  his  history  of  1782  (p.  309),  states  that  the  front  of  the 
Clerk's  "chamber  is  adorned  with  a  piazza  supported  with  two  square  rustic 
arched  stone  pillars." 


CROSS   STEEPLE  AND  TOLLBOOTH,    ERECTED    1757- 


1750   TILL    1800.  II 

more  ornamental  to  finish  the  spire  of  the  new  steeple  at  the  Cross  with 
stone,  agreed  that  such  should  be,  and  appointed  acommittee  to  agree 
with  masons  for  building  and  finishing  the  said  spire."  By  this 
decision,  it  would  appear  that  they  had  contemplated  the  using  of 
some  other  material  than  stone,  but,  if  such  was  the  case,  there  is 
no  indication  given  of  what  it  was  to  be.  In  the  completion  of  the 
spire,  it  is  worthy  of  being  noticed  that  John  Mair,  a  young  mason, 
aged  sixteen  years,  had  just  fixed  the  cock  which  formed  the  vane, 
and  was  descending,  when  he  fell  from  a  considerable  height,  and 
would  have  been  killed  on  the  street  below,  but  that  he  caught  a 
projecting  stone,  to  which  he  hung  till  feather  beds  were  laid  below 
him,  and  on  these  he  fell  uninjured ;  a  man  on  the  street  also  par- 
tially breaking  the  fall  with  his  hands.  On  reaching  the  ground,  he 
is  said  to  have  uttered  the  exclamation,  "  By  this  fall,  I  rise."  He 
did  not  return  to  the  mason  trade,  but  went  into  the  muslin  busi- 
ness in  Glasgow,  and  acquired  considerable  wealth.  He  afterwards 
established  a  large  mercantile  business  in  London;  and,  in  1793, 
bought  the  estate  of  Plantation,  near  Govan.  He  laid  out  upwards 
of  ;^3o,ooo  in  improvements  and  alterations  on  the  dwelling-house 
and  the  estate.^  He  obtained  possession  of  the  stone  that  saved 
his  life,  and  had  it  fixed  near  his  arbour,  in  Plantation  estate,  where 
he  was  in  the  habit  of  sitting.  In  his  prosperity  he  did  not  forget 
the  man  who  had  broken  his  fall  with  his  hands ;  for,  having  ascer- 
tained that  he  was  in  indigent  circumstances,  he  sought  him  out, 
and  pensioned  him  for  life.  In  memory  of  his  escape,  Mr.  Mair 
had  emblazoned  on  his  carriage  the  figure  of  a  swan,  with  the 
motto,  "  I  rise  by  a  fall."  The  figure  of  the  swan  was  suggested  by 
his  mother's  maiden  name,  which  was  Swan ;  and  the  motto  repre- 
sented improvement  of  circumstances,  which  his  fall  had  brought 
about.  He  died  in  1824,  and  was  interred  in  Govan  churchyard. 
Mr.  M'Lean,  who  purchased  the  lands  of  Plantation,  preserved  Mr. 
Mair's  two  relics.  The  seat  was  taken  down,  and  re-erected  in  the 
adjoining  grounds  of  Haughhead  ;  and  the  stone  was  offered  to  Mr, 
Mair's  grandson  in  London,  who  removed  it  to  that  city  in  1870. 

We  give  an  elevation  drawing  of  the  spire  at  the  Cross,  and  the 
ToUbooth  or  Jail,  adjoining.^ 

While  the  spire,  128  feet  in  height,  forming  the  south  angle  of 

^  It  is  reported  of  him  that  he  was  at  one  time  reduced,  by  the  wreck  of  a 
vessel  which  had  not  been  insm-ed,  to  the  necessity  of  requesting  indulgence  for 
some  time  from  his  creditors.  This,  from  the  high  character  which  he  bore  as  a 
commercial  man,  was  at  once  freely  granted.  Some  time  afterwards,  he  invited 
his  creditors  to  his  house,  and,  on  sitting  down  to  table,  each  found  under  his 
plate  the  principal  and  interest  owing  to  him. — Glasgaiu,  Ancient  and  Modern, 
P-  "75- 

^  As  taken  from  a  drawing  by  Mr.  Hugh  Vallance,  when  a  young  man,  before 
the  old  Tollbooth  was  taken  down  in  1821.  We  are  indebted  to  Miss  Helen 
Macfarlane,  formerly  of  Canal  Bank,  Paisley,  and  at  present  residing  in  Edin- 
burgh, the  possessor  of  this  interesting  sketch,  for  allowing  us  to  take  a  copy  of 
it ;  as  hers,  we  believe,  is  the  only  drawing  preserved  of  this  former  landmark  of 
the  town. 


12  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

High  Street  and  west  angle  of  Moss  Street,  was  a  graceful  structure, 
the  buildings  of  the  ToUbooth  or  Jail,  adjoining  it  on  the  north 
side,  did  not  exhibit  any  striking  architectural  feature.  The  north 
door,  in  the  basement  storey,  led  to  what  was  at  first  the  Guard- 
■  house,  and  afterwards  the  Police  Office,  Town  Clerk's  Office,  and 
Council  Chambers.  The  south  door,  on  the  same  flat,  besides 
being  the  entrance  to  the  ground  floor  of  the  room  within  the 
steeple,  which  was  called  the  "  howf,"  where  ale  and  porter  were 
sold,  and  to  the  apartment  behind,  facing  High  Street,  called  the 
jailer's  room,  where  ale  and  porter  were  likewise  occasionally  sold, 
also  communicated  by  an  inside  stair  with  the  rooms  in  the  third 
floor,  where  debtors  were  incarcerated,  and  also  with  the  attic, 
where  females  were  imprisoned.  The  rooms  or  cells  in  the  second 
and  third  floors,  within  the  steeple,  and  also  the  cells  above  the 
jailer's  room,  were  well  secured  stone  rooms,  in  which  criminals 
were  confined.  The  fourth,  or  highest  room  in  the  steeple,  was 
set  apart  for  the  bell-ringer.  The  north  door,  at  the  head  of  the 
outside  stone  stair,  formed  the  entrance  to  the  County  Sherift'  Court 
Rooms,  in  which  the  Magistrates  also  frequently  held  their  courts. 
The  south  door  on  that  stair-head  formed  another  entrance  to  the 
Tollbooth. 

The  space  at  the  head  of  this  stair  was  of  some  size,  and  was  used 
for  a  variety  of  public  purposes.  It  was  here  that  the  Jugs,  Stocks, 
and  Pillory,  were  placed  ;  and  culprits  sentenced  to  undergo  punish- 
ments by  any  of  these  means  were  in  this  conspicuous  position 
exposed  to  the  gaze,  and  sometimes  to  the  fury,  of  the  public 
assembled  on  the  adjoining  street.  There  also  public  proclama- 
tions were  made,  and,  when  the  King's  birthday  was  celebrated,  it 
was  on  the  platform  of  this  stair-head  that  the  Magistrates  and 
others  stood  while  they  drank  His  Majesty's  health,  afterwards 
pitching  the  empty  glasses  among  the  crowd  assembled  at  the  mar- 
ket cross.  The  population  of  the  town  at  that  time  was  about 
5000. 

Shortly  after  the  lands  belonging  to  the  Monastery  of  Paisley  had 
been  formed  into  a  Regality,  in  145 1,  by  King  James  II.,  who 
granted  the  privilege  of  arresting  and  punishing  malefactors.  Abbot 
Thomas  Tervas  erected  a  court  hall  on  this  site  of  the  Tollbooth, 
which  was  in  1490,  as  already  stated,  conveyed  to  the  Bailies  and 
Town  Council  by  Abbot  George  Schaw,  who  described  it  in  the 
charter  as  the  Prcetorium. 

John  Spar,  and  not  the  Town  Treasurer,  disbursed  the  money 
connected  with  the  erection  of  the  Tollbooth  and  steeple.  On  30th 
January,  1761,  his  accounts  were  examined,  and  it  was  found  that 
the  whole  expenses  amounted  to  ^914  4s.  6d.  stg.  On  the  2nd 
of  the  following  month,  the  Council  elected  John  Campbell,  mer- 
chant in  Paisley,  to  be  jailer  of  the  Tollbooth.  He  did  not,  how- 
ever, fill  this  situation  for  any  length  of  time,  as  the  Council,  on 
26th  July,  1763,  "thought  proper  to  remove  John  Campbell  from 
his  office  on  account  of  his  misconduct."     At  the  same  meeting, 


175°    TILL    1800.  13 

they  resolved  to  return  to  the  old  practice  of  giving  the  charge  of 
the  Tollbooth  to  one  of  the  town's  officers.  This  was  not,  however, 
carried  out,  as  on  the  21st  October  following  they  appointed  John 
Lang,  late  weaver,  to  be  jailer.  Besides  the  jailer's  fees,  he  was  "  to 
have  ;^4  stg.  per  annum  of  salary,  and  ^\  stg.  in  full  for  allowance 
of  candle  and  sweeping  vents."  On  nth  February,  1771,  the 
Council  fixed  the  following  dues  to  be  paid  to  the  jailer ; — 

I  St.  Every  burgess  incarcerated  shall,  during  his  con- 
finement, pay  for  jailer's  fee  for  each  night  at 
the  rate  of  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ^o     o     2 

2nd.  Every  person  not  a  burgess,  ...  ...  ...       004 

3rd.    Every  person  imprisoned,  by  virtue  of  an  act  of 
warding,  shall  pay  to  the  jailer,  exclusive  of  the 
dues  in  first  article,  when  the  sum  is  los.  stg.  or 
below,      ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...       003 

4th.  Do.,  when  los.  and  above,  but  not  exceeding  20s.,       006 
5th.  Do.,  20s.  and  above,  but  not  exceeding  30s.,     ...       o     o     9 
6th.  Do.,  30s.  and  above,  but  not  exceeding  40s.,     ...       o     i     o 
7th.  Do.,  40s.  and  above,  to  pay  ...  ...  ...       o     i      2 

N.B. — In  the  four  last  articles,  the  keeper  of  the 
records  shall  be  entitled,  from  articles  3rd  and 
4th,  one  half-penny ;  from  articles  5th  and  6th, 
one  penny;  and  from  article  7th,  twopence. 
And  every  person  incarcerated,  by  virtue  of  a  written 
warrant  from  a  Magistrate,  a  Justice  of  Peace,  or 
Sheriff,  shall  pay   to  jailer  and  keeper  of  the 
records,    ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...       o     i     2 

But   if  the    Procurator-Fiscal   be   concerned    in    such 

warrants,  to  pay  nothing. 
Every  person  incarcerated  in  virtue  of  the  caption  or 
admiral  warrant,  exclusive  of  the  dues  first  and 
second    article,   to    jailer   and    Keeper   of  the 
Records,  ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...       o     i     2 

The  jailer,  on  signing  an  attestation  of  a  commitment, 

shall  receive         ...  ...  ...  ...  ...       006 

And  the  Keeper  of  the  Records,  on  the  delivery  up 
of  diligence   to   persons,    neglecting  to  require 
the  same  within  eight  days  after  the  liberation, 
shall  for  every  act  of  warding  receive,  ...  ...       o     o     6 

And  every  caption  or  admiral  warrant,  ...  ...       o     i     o 

For  every  person  imprisoned  on  a  personal  conveen 

shall  pay  the  jailer,  exclusive  of  first  article,    ...       o     o     i 

On  25th  June,  1774,  the  Magistrates  reported  to  the  Council 
"  that  they  had  agreed  with  William  Kelly,  clockmaker  in  Paisley, 
to  keep  the  clocks  in  the  Cross  Steeple,  High  Church  Steeple,  West 
Steeple,  and  movement  in  the  Middle  Church  for  a  year,  and  to 
receive  ^^5  stg.  therefor."  The  Council,  on  15th  June,  1793, 
appointed  William  Hart,  jailer,  and  found  caution  for  his  fidelity. 


14  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

On  8th  September,  1797,  they  fixed   the   following   rules   to   be 
observed  in  the  prison  :■ — 

I  St.  The  jailer  to  attend  from  nine  to  ten  o'clock  in  the  morning, 
from  one  to  two  mid-day,  and  from  eight  to  nine  at  night, 
for  the  purpose  of  serving  the  prisoners  with  their  victuals, 
and  at  no  other  time  for  victuals. 

2nd.  The  jailer  to  shut  up  the  prisoners  in  their  rooms  at   nine 

o'clock  at  night,  by  locking  and  bolting  each  of  the  inner 

doors  and  hanging   catbands    thereon  ;    also,  locking   and 

.     bolting  the  outer  doors  and  hanging  catbands  on  them,  with 

a  lock  on  the  outer  catband. 

3rd.  The  stairs  and  house-room,  although  they  are  entries  to  the 
jail,  yet  they  are  not  to  be  considered  as  any  part  of,  the 
prison. 

In  the  morning  of  17th  November,  1785,  the  prison  was  broken 
open,  and  John  Barbour,  jun.,  merchant  in  Kilbarchan,  and  John 
White,  Paisley,  both  confined  for  debt,  made  their  escape.  John 
Barbour  was  a  young  man  of  twenty-two  years  of  age,  and  John 
White  was  about  the  same  age.  The  Magistrates  and  Council 
offered  a  reward  of  ^25  to  anyone  who  would  apprehend  them. 
Three  years  afterwards,  the  prison  was  again  broken  open.  On  the 
night  between  Sunday  the  12th  and  Monday  the  13th  October, 
1788,  Christian  Cameron  effected  her  escape  by  making  a  hole 
through  the  roof  of  the  prison.  The  upper  flat  of  attics  was 
reserved  for  the  imprisonment  of  women.  She  was  incarcerated  on 
a  charge  of  breaking  into  the  house  of  William  Ewing,  Mitchelton, 
and  stealing  therefrom  a  quantity  of  wearing  apparel.  The  Magis- 
trates intimated  by  advertisement  in  the  newspapers  that  whoever 
apprehended  her  would  be  handsomely  rewarded. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  9th  September,  1787,  three  prisoners 
escaped  from  the  ToUbooth.  One  of  them  was  named  Roderick 
MacCuillin,  an  Irishman,  twenty  years  of  age,  and  w-as  in  confine- 
ment preparatory  to  being  tried  before  the  next  Circuit  Court  at 
Glasgow  for  a  forgery  on  the  Paisley  Banking  Company.  One  of 
the  other  prisoners  was  John  Taylor,  weaver  in  Paisley,  also  twenty 
years  of  age,  who  was  charged  with  housebreaking  and  theft. 
James  Taylor,  who  escaped  at  the  same  time,  surrendered  himself. 
A  reward  of  one  hundred  guineas  was  offered  by  the  Paisley  Banking 
Company  to  anyone  who  would  apprehend  MacCuillin.  A 
reward  of  ^10  los.  w^as  offered  by  the  Procurator-Fiscal  for  the 
apprehension  of  Taylor.  On  the  12th  of  that  month,  MacCuillin 
was  apprehended  at  Wraes,  in  the  parish  of  Houston,  by  two  Mes- 
sengers-at-Arms,  who  were  assisted  by  a  party  of  the  Royal  Paisley 
Volunteers,  and  committed  to  Paisley  prison.  MacCuillin,  who 
was  tried  at  Edinburgh  and  found  guilty,  was  to  have  been  exe- 
cuted on  the  6th  December  in  that  year,  but  he  succeeded  in  de- 
stroying himself  in  prison.  On  the  previous  night  he  made  an 
attempt  to  escape,  and  had  very  nearly  succeeded,  when  he  was 


1750    TILL    1800.  15 

discovered  by  the  under-jailer,  and  secured  after  a  severe  struggle, 
in  which  the  jailer  was  dangerously  wounded. 

A  post  between  London  and  Edinburgh  was  first  established  in 
1635,  and  three  days  were  allowed  for  the  journey.^  The  postage 
charge  for  a  letter  was  eightpence.  In  1654,  the  revenues  of  the 
Post  Office  for  England,  Scotland,  and  Ireland  were  farmed,  and  the 
sum  received  was  ;2^  10,000  per  annum.  The  revenue  of  the  Post 
Office  in  Scotland  at  the  Union  was  ^1194;  in  1730,  ;j^5399  ;  in 
1760,  ^11,942  ;  in  1776,  ;^3i,io8  ;  and  in  1793,  ^^40,000.  In 
1726,  the  Post  Office  revenue  at  Paisley  amounted  to  ;^28  13s.; 
and  in  1769,  to  ;^223  3s.  8d.,  thus  showing  in  a  most  satisfactory 
way  the  great  increase  of  business  in  the  town  in  the  course  of 
forty-three  years. 

The  Post  Office  was  in  Moss  Row,  at  present  No.  43  Moss 
Street,  and  in  1751  the  Post-Master's  name  was  Thomas  Kerr;  and 
for  three  generations  afterwards  descendants  of  that  name  held  the 
situation. 

The  first  proprietor  of  the  lands  of  Ferguslie  was  John  Hamilton, 
a  descendant  of  the  Hamiltons  of  Orbiston,  who  obtained  a  grant 
of  them  from  John  Hamilton,  Abbot  of  Paisley,  in  1554  ;  and  by 
an  heiress  of  the  family  they  came  to  John  Wallace,  a  younger  son 
of  William  Wallace  of  Elderslie,  whose  successor  was  John  Hamilton 
of  Barr.  These  lands  were  afterwards  acquired  by  William  Cochran, 
son  of  Col.  Hugh  Cochran,  brother-german  of  William  Earl  of 
Dundonald  ( SJiire  of  Renfrciv  described  by  George  Craivfurd  p.  63  J. 
As  already  stated,  this  estate  was  bought  by  the  Town  Council  on 
6th  July,  1 748.  Tradition  has  it  that  there  was  a  castle  at  Ferguslie, 
but  there  is  now  no  trace  of  such  a  building.  In  1864,  a  stone  was 
found  at  the  mansion-house  with  the  initials  on  it  of  J.  W.  and 
M.  H.,  and  it  was  alleged  that  Ferguslie  Castle  was  erected  by  John 
Wallace  and  Margaret  Hamilton  in  1634,  and  that  this  stone  was 
the  keystone  of  the  arch  to  the  main  door  in  the  fortalice.  If  this 
castle  had  been  erected  so  recently  as  1634,  some  trace  of  it  would, 
as  in  the  case  of  other  substantial  buildings  of  this  kind,  have  been 
found  at  the  present  day.  This  stone  with  initial  letters  on  it  may, 
very  likely,  have  been  used  in  connection  with  some  unimportant 
additional  building,  but  that  it  belonged  to  any  castle  is  very 
improbable.  As  building  operations  were  proceeding  so  rapidly  and 
extensively  at  this  time,  many  of  the  stones  were  taken  out  of  the 
lands  of  Ferguslie  without  permission.  On  29th  January,  1751, 
however,  the  Council  interfered,  prohibiting  burgesses  and  others 
from  taking  stones  from  "  the  town's  craigs  or  quarries  "  in  these 
lands  without  permission  from  the  Bailies,  under  the  penalty  of  one 
hundred  pounds  Scots.  There  appears  to  have  been  a  large 
number  of  trees  growing  on  this  estate,  but  these  were  sold  by 

^  Post  is  believed  to  be  derived  from  the  Latin  word  Posiitis,  a  station. 


1 6  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

the  Council  at  different  periods.  On  2nd  December,  1770,  they 
"  authorised  the  IMagistrates  to  sell  some  of  the  timber  growing  on 
the  lands  of  Fergushe."  On  29th  November,  1776,  they  "agreed 
to  roup  and  sell  sundry  trees  on  the  lands  of  FergusUe."  On  28th 
February  in  the  following  year,  they  "authorised  the  Magistrates  to 
roup  and  sell  the  plot  of  firs  at  Ferguslie  opposite  Thomas  King's 
house."  On  25th  October,  1773,  the  Council  "agreed  to  dispose 
to  Bailie  John  Storie  of  the  superiority  of  the  lands  of  Ferguslie 
and  Carriagehill,  in  life-rent  only,  during  his  life."  The  sale  of  this 
political  privilege  brought  nothing  but  trouble  to  the  Council.  The 
object  of  the  purchase  was  to  secure  the  right  to  vote  for  a  certain 
party  to  be  M.P.  for  the  shire.  James  Wilson,  writer  in  Paisley, 
and  William  and  John  Wilson,  merchants.  Paisley,  in  the  interest,  no 
doubt,  of  the  opposing  political  party  in  the  county,  "  raised  and 
executed  summonses  of  reduction  against  the  Magistrates  and 
Council  to  compear  before  the  Lords  of  Council  and  Session  for 
reducing  this  life-rent  granted  by  them."  The  Council  were, 
however,  in  no  way  frightened  at  this  formidable  legal  action  in  the 
Court  of  Session,  but  appointed  "  a  committee  to  employ  a  proper 
agent  and  lawyers  to  appear  in  the  defence  of  the  said  action"; 
and  in  order  that  the  committee  might  not  be  without  the  sinews 
of  war,  they  were  authorised  "  to  draw  on  the  Treasurer  for  the 
necessary  expense"  (Council  Records,  13th  May,  1774).  As  no 
further  reference  is  made  to  this  matter  in  the  Council  records,  we 
may  safely  conclude  that  either  the  pursuers  were  successful  in  their 
action  of  reduction,  or  that  the  Council  cancelled  the  sale  of  the 
life-rent.  On  25th  Januar}^,  1793,  Gavin  Maxwell,  merchant,  and 
Wilham  Hume,  wright,  Paisley,  made  a  proposal  to  the  Council  for 
"a  lease  of  the  lands  of  Ferguslie  for  the  purpose  of  searching  for 
coal."  Although  the  Council  approved  of  the  proposal,  yet  it 
apparently  ended  in  nothing  being  done.  On  ist  February 
following,  the  Council  agreed  "  to  roup  sundry  trees  on  the  lands  of 
Ferguslie,  consisting  of  ash  and  other  qualities  of  timber." 

The  increase  in  the  manufacturing  population  of  the  town,  and 
the  consequent  addition  to  the  number  of  the  poor,  rendered  the 
erection  of  a  commodious  hospital  or  poorhouse  for  the  proper  ac- 
commodation of  the  many  destitute  and  infirm  to  be  a  necessity. 
In  this  good  work  the  Council  received  the  practical  and  hearty 
support  of  the  inhabitants,  and  also  that  of  the  different  trades,  and 
other  societies  in  the  town.     The  terms  of  the  contract  entered  into 
between  the  Council  and  the  societies  were  that  each  should  con- 
tribute the  following  sums  to  aid  in  erecting  a  poorhouse  within  the 
burgh  : — 

The  Town  Council,  ...  ...  ...     p^4o     o     o 

Merchants'  Society,  ...         ...  ...         30     o     o 

Weavers' Society,    ...  ...  ...  ...         30     o     o 


Carried  forward,  ...         ••■  ^i< 


175°   TILL    1800. 


17 


Brought  forward^ 
Maltmen's  Society,  ... 
The  Wrights'  Society, 


^100  o  o 
1000 
1000 


^120 


In  all,  ... 
(Council  Records,  29th  September,  1749). 

The  Town  Council  and  societies  further  agreed  "  that  they  would 
contribute  the  following  sums  annually  during  a  period  of  ten  years 
towards  the  maintenance  of  the  poor  people  in  the  hospital.  After 
ten  years,  to  have  the  option  to  adhere  to  the  foresaid  yearly  pay- 
ments, to  add,  diminish,  or  be  free  :"  — 


Ihe  lown  Council,  ... 

..  ^10     0 

0 

Merchants'  Society,  ... 

7    10 

0 

Weavers'  Society, 

..        15     0 

0 

Maltmen's  Society,    ... 

20 

0 

The  Wrights'  Society, 

I    10 

0 

Low  Church  Session, 

20     0 

0 

In  all,             

•  •  £$(^    0 

0 

(Council  Records,  30th  September,  1749). 

By  this  agreement,  the  Town  Council  were  "  to  elect  three  mana- 
gers, the  Kirk  Session  three,  and  each  of  the  fraternity  three 
annually  "  (Maltmen's  Society  Records,  9th  November,  1757).  Within 
two  years  from  the  commencement,  the  present  substantial  poor- 
house  was  erected,  at  a  total  cost  of  ;^584  4s.  9^d.,  and  the  con- 
tributors to  this  outlay  were  as  follows  : — 


Sundry  contributions  of  the  inhabitants,  ^170  14 

The  Town  Session  of  Paisley,    ...          ...  25  o 

An  unknown  hand,         ...          ...          ...  20  o 

Materials  sold  after  building  the  house,  31  6 

The  Town  Council,        ...          ...          ...  40  o 

Society  of  Merchants,     ...          ...          ...  30  o 

Society  of  Weavers,         ...          ...          ...  3°  o 

Society  of  Maltmen,        ...          ...          ...  10  o 

Society  of  Tailors,           ...          ...          ...  15  o 

Society  of  Wrights,         ...          ...          ...  10  o 

Society  of  Shoemakers,   ...          ...          ...  100 

Town  Council,  to  complete  the  building, 
over  and  above  the  £,40  contracted 

for,        192  4     o^ 

^584  4  9^ 
The  hospital  was  opened  in  May,  1752,  and  the  first  entry  in 
the  minute-book  on  the  26th  of  that  month  is  thus — "  Follows  the 
names  of  the  directors,  written  in  their  own  hands,  who  are  to  visit 
the  house  daily  by  turns,  and  likewise  what  each  of  them  have  of 
remarks  in  their  turns."      This  minute  will  be  better  understood 


l8  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

when  it  is  explained  that  the  intention  of  the  directors,  when  the 
institution  was  first  opened,  was  that  it  should  be  visited  daily  by 
one  or  two  of  their  number,  who  should  enter  in  their  minute-book 
anything  they  had  to  report  relating  to  the  hospital.  This  arrange- 
ment continued  for  nearly  a  year,  when  the  daily  visits  ceased. 
The  directors  had,  besides,  weekly,  monthly,  and  quarterly  meet- 
ings, and  a  general  meeting  annually.  Of  the  office-bearers  among 
the  directors  there  was  a  convener,  cashier,  and  clerk,  who  were 
elected  annually.  Their  names  were  not  given  in  the  minutes  till 
about  six  years  after  the  opening  of  the  hospital.  The  female 
superintendent  of  the  hospital  was  for  several  years,  even  in  the 
records,  only  called  the  mistress.  There  was  also  a  teacher  for  the 
children,  who  likewise  acted  as  chaplain. 

In  the  early  years  of  the  hospital,  the  business  coming  before  the 
directors  was  only  of  a  routine  nature,  and  not  of  very  great  impor- 
tance. It  related  mainly  to  the  purchasing  of  provisions,  the  ad- 
mission of  poor  persons  of  different  ages  into  the  hospital ;  the 
giving  of  out-door  reUef,  or  pensions  as  they  were  termed,  to  those 
outside  the  house ;  the  apprenticing  of  boys  to  trades  ;  and  the 
getting  of  females  to  be  servants  in  respectable  families.  In  the  re- 
cords there  are,  besides,  many  matters  disposed  of  by  the  directors, 
which  illustrate  in  no  small  degree  the  feelings,  manners,  and  social 
circumstances  of  the  time.  We  therefore  give  a  few  extracts  from 
the  records : — 

22nd  August,  1752. — These  present  ordered  four  double  dales  to 
be  bought  for  a  board  to  contain  the  names  of  those  who  contribute 
to  the  erection  and  support  of  the  house. 

28th  November,  1752. — The  Committee  also  agreed  that  a  big 
Bible  be  bought  for  the  use  of  the  House  and  question -books  for 
the  children  in  it. 

nth  June,  1754. — The  Largs  Fair  being  now  come,  the  Com- 
mittee thought  it  proper  that  some  sarking  be  bought  for  the  use  of 
the  house. 

9th  December,  1755. — This  day  the  Directors  agreed  with 
William  Peterson,  in  order  that  he  may  keep  vagrant  beggars  out  of 
this  town,  to  pay  him  one  shilling  and  sixpence  stg.  weekly  towards 
his  maintenance. 

2ist  December,  1756. — The  Directors  sett  to  Alexander  Robert- 
son the  upper  storie  of  the  Poorhouse  for  drying  manufactured 
goods  from  this  time  to  Martinmas  next,  at  the  rent  of  ;^i  los. 

26th  July,  1757. — This  day  the  Directors  present  made  an  agree- 
ment with  Robert  Bowie,  weaver  in  Paisley,  with  respect  to  John 
Fleming,  a  boy  in  the  Poor  House,  viz.,  that  the  said  John  Fleming 
shall  serve  the  said  Robert  Bowie  as  an  apprentice  for  the  space  of 
three  years,  who  obliges  himself  to  instruct  his  said  apprentice  in 
the  art  of  weaving  as  far  as  he  is  capable  during  his  apprenticeship ; 
and  shall  provide  him  in  bed,  board,  and  washing,  and  cloaths  ; 


1750    TILL    1800.  19 

and  shall  give  caution  that  his  said  apprentice  shall  be  no  further 
burdensome  to  the  Poorhouse  during  the  space  of  three  years 
above-mentioned. 

22nd  November,  1757. — A  general  meeting  of  the  Directors  held 
this  day  both  of  the  Directors,  who  officiated  last  year,  and  of  the 
Directors  who  are  to  officiate  this  year. 

28th  August,  1758. — Mr.  Andrew  Miller,  bookseller,  London, 
gave  to  the  Mistress  ^2  stg.  for  the  use  of  the  house,  which  was 
given  to  the  Cashier.^ 

5th  September,  1758. — They  have  agreed  with  James  Waterston 
to  paint  upon  the  walls  of  the  hall  the  names  of  the  contributors 
for  the  support  of  this  Hospital  at  one  farthing  per  letter,  the  size 
of  which  is  to  be  according  to  letters  upon  the  charity-box. 

nth  September. — This  day  the  Hospital  was  visited  by  the 
Rev'^-  James  Baine  and  the  Directors,  before  whom  (after  prayer") 
the  children  said  lessons  and  were  catechised,  and  being  exhorted, 
were  dismissed  with  prayer. 

8th  May,  1759. — The  Committee  granted  a  precept 'on  Thomas 
Marshell,  cashier  to  this  Hospital,  for  paying  the  remainder  of  the 
chaplain's  salary,  which  was  due  on  the  ist  instant.'^ 

loth  July,  1759. — John  Miller  is  ordered  to  write  to  Kilmarnock 
for  a  web  of  serge  for  the  use  of  this  Hospital.  New  books  for  the 
children  are  to  be  got  from  Mrs.  Davies,  and  it  is  hoped  the  Session 
will  help  as  to  the  expense  of  so  necessary  an  article. 

loth  July,  1759. — The  Directors  also  granted  a  precept  on  Mr. 
Marshell,  cashier,  to  pay  to  Thomas  Lang  15s.  stg.,  for  teaching  of  the 
children  in  the  Hospital  church  music  last  winter. 

i8th  January,  1760. — The  Directors  present,  by  a  great  majority 
of  voices,  have  agreed  that  William  M'Alpin  be  no  longer  a 
Director  of  this  house  during  their  time,  as  it  appears  from  his 
conduct  that  he  acted  imprudently  betwixt  Duncan  Knox  and  the 
Directors,  and  they  recommend  to  the  Society  of  Tailors  to  send 
another  in  his  place. 

23d  September,  1760. — The  Directors  do  agree  that  the  chaplain 
in  the  Hospital  become  surety  for  the  boys  who  go  apprentice  from 
the  house ;  and  that  he  do  this  in  name  of  the  Directors,  as  his 
security  from  any  trouble  which  may  arise  from  the  boys'  misconduct 
during  their  apprenticeship. 

28th  April,  1 761. — The  Committee  has  also  ordered  for  a  standing 
rule  that  the  chaplain  shall  have  is.  6d.  for  each  indenture  he  shall 
write  for  the  boys  who  go  apprentices  from  the  house ;  which  he  is 
to  receive  from  the  boy's  master,  as  the  house  undertakes  to  pay 
the  stamped  paper,  which  at  present  is  is.  8d.  per  sheet. 

1  This  gentleman  was  a  son  of  the  Rev.  Robert  Miller,  of  the  Abbey,  already 
referred  to. 

-  The  chaplain's  name  is  not  stated,  and  this  is  the  hrst  time  he  is  alluded  to. 


iO  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

iSth  December,  1761. — The  Directors  present  gave  orders  to 
Robert  Cross,  late  cashier,  to  make  haste  and  pay  off  all  accompts 
due  by  the  house  for  the  preceding  year,  and  particularly  to  pay  the 
chaplain  what  remains  due  to  him  of  ;^io  stg.  as  his  appointed 
annual  salary. 

26th  January,  1762. — The  Directors  agree  and  require  that 
Robert  Cross,  their  late  cashier,  against  Monday  next,  grant  his  bill 
for  ^20  stg.,  and  at  the  same  time  pay  up  the  full  of  what  else 
remains  of  the  balance  due  to  the  house  and  charged  to  him  as 
cashier,  and  that  the  said  bill  be  payable  to  William  Buchanan, 
their  present  cashier,  at  the  term  of  Whitsunday  next,  otherwise  a 
lawsuit  must  take  place. 

2d  February,  1762. — W""-  Buchanan,  cashier,  has  received  a  bill 
from  Robert  Cross,  late  cashier,  as  part  of  the  balance  due  by  him 
to  the  house,  containing  ;^2o  iis.  8d.,  accepted  by  Robert  Cross 
and  James  Wilson  merchant  in  Paisley. 

29th  June,  1762. — Agree  that  W™-  M'Nair  insure  the  Charity 
Workhouse  in  Paisley,  viz.: — On  the  house,  ^^250;  on  body  and 
bed  clothes  and  utensils,  ;^5o  stg.,  with  W™-  Buchanan,  agent  for 
the  Sun  Fire  Office,  London. 

nth  January,  1763. — A  half-dozen  knives  and  forks  at  3s.  is 
received  into  the  house. 

loth  May,  1763. — The  Committee,  taking  into  their  consideration 
the  original  intention  of  this  Hospital,  do  agree  and  resolve  that, 
for  the  future,  no  bastard  children  shall  be  received  into  it  upon 
any  pretence  whatever,  and  also  order  that  all  such  children  who 
are  in  it  be  removed  away  from  it. 

24th  January,  1764. — -Elizabeth  Lyle  having  brought  forth  a  child 
in  uncleaness,  and  having  concealed  her  being  with  child  unto  the 
very  last,  the  Directors  order  her  to  be  dismissed  from  the  house  as 
soon  as  she  is  recovered. 

26th  June,  1764. — The  Committee  thinks  it  proper  that  John 
Weir  and  James  Whyte  be  employed  to  keep  the  beggars  out  of 
town,  and  if  they  refuse  the  office  they  ought  to  be  expelled  the 
house. 

nth  September,  1764. — John  Lillie,  chaplain,  is  allowed  a  broth 
pot  pertaining  to  the  Hospital,  in  regard  that  he  had  written  some 
indentures  for  the  house,  for  which  he  had  got  no  payment. 

1 8th  September,  1764. — James  Whyte,  wright,  having  refused  the 
office  proposed  to  him  (about  beggars),  is  ordered  by  the  Com- 
mittee to  dismiss  him  from  the  house  immediately. 

7th  July,  1767. — John  Scott  went  out  apprentice  this  day,  and 
was  furnished  with  the  following  clothes: — A  coat,  almost  new; 
new  vest  with  sleeves,  new  breeches,  new  slip,  three  new  shirts, 
new  hose,  new  shoes,  new  bonnet,  two  napkins,  new  Bible  and 
Catechism. 


175°    TILL    1800.  21 

2d  December,  1767. — They  have  also  ordered  that  the  bell  in  the 
Hospital  be  cast  anew,  and  about  1 2lbs.  weight  added  thereto,  and 
it  is  to  be  sent  to  Bristol  for  said  purpose.  The  present  weight  of 
the  bell  is  49lbs.  i20z.^ 

i8th  August,  1767. — The  Directors  agree  to  make  application  to 
the  Societies  of  Smiths,  Masons,  and  Fleshers,  for  their  assistance 
in  building  a  house  for  the  accommodation  of  distempered  people, 
where  they  are  to  be  taken  care  of  and  secured  from  danger. "-^ 

ist  December,  1767. — Likewise,  do  appoint  Friday  next  be  a 
general  meeting  in  order  to  agree  on  supplying  the  house  with  a 
chaplain  and  teacher,  of  which  there  seems  to  be  a  necessity  at 
present. 

8th  November,  1768. — Also,  ordered  George  Neilson  to  provide 
a  boll  of  short  malt,  to  be  distilled  into  aquavitse  for  the  use  of 
the  Hospital.'^ 

6th  December,  1768. — Agreed  that  John  Maxwell  should  con- 
tinue for  the  space  of  another  year  as  chaplain. 

6th  November,  1770. — -A  new  box  was  brought  in  by  Patrick 
Mann,  for  keeping  and  preserving  what  valuable  papers  belong  to 
the  Hospital  ;  which  box  having  two  keys,  one  of  them  was 
delivered  to  Bailie  Buchanan  and  the  other  to  John  Gemil,  to  be 
kept  by  them  for  the  ensuing  year. 

Two  key-keepers  were  afterwards  annually  appointed. 

3d  November,  1772.— -Ordered  an  examination  of  the  Hospital 
school  to  be  held  upon  the  last  day  of  December  next.  Mr.  Carson 
and  Mr.  Robert  Orr  are  chosen  to  converse  with  the  Magistrates 
and  ministers  to  attend  the  same. 

14th  February,  1774. — Ordered  the  people  in  the  house  who 
formerly  used  to  receive  one  penny  per  week  for  snuff,  to  receive 
again  the  same  until  a  general  meeting. 

28th  February,  1774. — A  Committee  ordered  to  enjoin  upon 
Mrs.  Lochhead  to  be  frugal  in  managing  these  articles  under  her 
hand,  viz.:— These  articles  of  butter,  sugar,  cheese,  and  wheat 
bread  ;  and  the  meeting  resolve  that  no  accounts  shall  be  paid 
hereafter  until  they  are  read  by  a  monthly  general  meeting  and 
docketed  by  the  convener,  in  presence  of  the  Directors,  at  their 
meeting,  and  these  accounts  to  be  settled  on  a  day  when  they  are 
docated. 

6th  February,  1776. — They  then  proceded  to  elect  a  surgeon 

^  It  was  a  popular  saying  that  when  the  Poorhouse  bell  was  rung  it  "  said  "  — 
"Tinklum,  tanklum,  tinklum,  tanklum, 
Tak  your  parritch  or  want  them. " 

"  The  Council  have  agreed  to  give  a  compliment  of  ;^io  stg.  towards  building 
cells  in  the  Town  Hospital  for  disordered  people.  —  Coitncil  Records,  22d 
January,  1768. 

^  Notices  of  this  kind  regularly  appear  afterwai^ds  in  these  records. 


2  2  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

to  attend  the  house,  in  room  of  Mr.  Stevenson  deceased,  when 
W'"-  Stewart,  surgeon  in  Paisley,  was  made  choice  of  unanimously. 

5th  November,  1776. — They  made  choice  of  James  Andrew  to 
continue  schoolmaster  and  chaplain. 

4th  May,  1779. — The  Directors  of  the  Weavers'  Society  intimated 
to  the  Directors  of  the  Hospital  that  they  should  continue  the  old 
mode  of  out-pensioners,  otherwise  they  would  discontinue  their 
yearly  payment. 

22nd  June,  1779. — Ordered  that,  as  Alexander  Jamieson  has  for 
several  days  by  gone  been  always  drunk,  and  always  neglects  his 
work  that  he  should  do  to  the  house,  therefore  he  is  to  be  sent 
out  of  the  house  ;  and  if  he  return  any  more,  he  is  only  to  lay  in 
Bedlam,  but  to  have  no  bed  clothes,  nor  anything  else  but  straw. 

7th  September,  1779. — To  agree  with  a  man  to  teach  the  children 
in  the  house  church  music. 

I  St  December,  1779. — The  representatives  from  the  Tailors  and 
^^'rights — each  of  them  gave  in  a  bearing  that  they  had  withdrawn 
both  their  representatives  and  support  from  the  house  from  this  date. 
The  representatives  from  the  Shoemakers  and  Fleshers  also  declared 
verbally  that  they  had  withdrawn. 

The  cause  of  these  withdrawals  was  the  same  as  that  of  the  Old 
Weavers,  already  stated — the  stopping  of  out-door  relief  by  the 
Hospital  Directors. 

13th  March,  1781. — John  Hart  and  Alex.  Jamieson  had  been 
fighting  and  swearing  in  the  Hospital,  and  as  the  former  was  the 
aggressor,  he  was  ordered  to  pay  one  shilling  for  swearing ;  and  in 
case  he  fails  to  do  so,  to  be  confined  to  the  cells  for  five  nights  and 
have  only  straw  to  sleep  upon ;  and  Alex.  Jamieson,  for  swearing, 
to  pay  one  shilling,  which  if  he  fails  to  do,  he  is  to  be  confined  three 
nights  in  the  cells,  and  to  lay  as  above. 

14th  September,  17S1. — Agreed  that  there  be  an  iron  rail  placed 
on  the  front  of  the  house  upon  the  palisade  wall. 

TSt  April,  1783. — Agreed  John  Morrison  to  shave  the  old  men  in 
this  house  and  to  dock  the  children's  hair  for  one  year  to  come, 
commencing  from  this  date,  for  which  he  is  to  get  ^\  4s.  stg. 

Frequent  appointments  of  this  kind  are  referred  to  in  subsequent 
records. 

2ist  September,  17S4. — A  communication  from  the  Town 
Council  to  the  Directors  of  the  Hospital  ^^■as  read  as  follows  : — 
The  Council  agree  to  sell  to  the  Managers  of  the  Poor's  Hospital 
the  piece  of  ground  at  the  back  of  the  same,  at  the  price  of  ids.  per 
fall,  as  the  same  shall  measure,  on  this  condition,  that  no  buildings 
shall  be  erected  thereon  but  an  outter  stone  dyke,  and  the  same 
shall  be  used  as  garden  ground,  and  to  no  other  use ;  and  if  the 
Poor's  Hospital  shall  cease,    and   not   be  occupied  as  such,  this 


1750    TILL    1800.  23 

ground  shall  return  to  the  community,  on  their  repaying  back  the 
price  to  such  as  have  a  power  to  receive  the  same.  The  meeting 
agreed  to  take  the  ground  on  the  above  price  and  conditions, 
except  tliat  they  want  to  have  liberty  to  build  such  buildings  on 
said  ground  as  shall  be  found  needful  for  the  use  of  the  said  Poor's 
Hospital,  and  occupied  as  such  ;  and  appointed  a  Committee  to 
return  thanks  to  the  Town  Council  for  the  attention  and  regard 
that  they  had  for  this  hospital,  and  to  agree  with  them  and  get  a 
disposition  to  said  ground. 

5th  October,  1784. — Then  the  meeting  made  choice  of  Mr.  John 
Whyte,  surgeon  in  Paisley,  to  be  surgeon  to  this  house  from  this 
date  till  the  first  June  next. 

This  appointment  of  House  Surgeon  is  in  the  place  of 
W™-  Stewart,  who  was  elected  on  ist  June  last. 

7th  June,  1785. — They  fixed  the  salary  of  M''^-  Robertson,  the 
mistress,  at  ^12  12s.  per  year,  and  her  other  privileges  as  formerly. 

6th  December,  1785. — Ordered  James  Andrew  to  get  bonnets 
for  the  boys  in  the  house,  to  be  used  on  the  Sabbath  days. 

6th  February,  1787. — There  was  a  motion  made  in  the  house 
that  every  master  that  takes  an  apprentice  out  of  the  house  after 
this  date,  shall  be  obliged  to  take  a  seat  in  some  one  of  the  places 
of  public  worship  where  he  sits  himself  for  him  ;  and  to  keep  him 
under  the  inspection  of  some  of  his  family,  and  to  see  that  he 
attends  public  worship  regularly. 

6th  March,  1787. — That  upon  M""^-  Robertson's  representation 
of  the  trouble  at  present  in  the  house,  the  meeting  have  agreed  to 
get  some  wine  for  the  house,  to  fulfil  the  surgeon's  order,  the 
cashier  to  furnish  it. 

4th  May,  17S7. — The  managers  engaged  a  woman  to  teach  the 
girls  in  the  house  tambouring  work  in  its  different  ways,  at  the  rate 
of  ;£i  IDS.  per  annum  for  each.  The  hours  of  attendance  in 
summer  to  be  from  seven  morning  to  seven  at  night,  with  hours  for 
meals  and  two  hours  for  education  ;  in  winter,  to  begin  after  break- 
fast and  continue  till  eight  at  night,  with  the  same  time  for  education 
and  one  hour  for  dinner. 

4th  December. — Appointed  a  Committee  to  converse  with 
M''-  Banks  anent  his  taking  Thomas  Drummond  to  be  his  apprentice 
to  learn  to  play  on  the  fiddle. 

2nd  June,  1789. — The  managers  unanimously  passed  a  vote  of 
thanks  to  M""-  Connachie,  Sheriff-Depute  of  the  County,  for  his 
obliging  and  disinterested  services. 

14th  July,  1789. — Agreed  that  a  four-loom  shop  and  rooms  above 
shall  be  built. 

6th  October,  1789. — Reported  that  the  Magistrates  and  Council 
were  pleased  to  agree  that  the  money  arising  from  the  mortcloths 
of  the  town  be  given  to  the  Session. 


24  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

2nd  February,  1790.— M«-  Robertson  has  liberty  to  employ  the 
women  in  the  house  to  spin  wool  to  M""-  Callings  as  she  can,  forby 
what  is  needed  in  the  house. 

16th  February,  1790. — W""-  Love  was  brought  before  the 
meeting  for  raising  disturbance  and  striking  John  Andrews,  there- 
fore he  is  ordered  to  the  cells. 

Frequently  inmates,  who  caused  disturbances  and  misbehaved, 
were  confined  in  the  cells,  or  "  bedlam,"  as  it  is  sometimes  called. 

7th  May,  1790.  —  The  Committee,  after  communing  with 
M""^-  Duncan,  agreed  that  she  shall  have  both  boys  and  girls  in  the 
hospital  for  tambouring  for  three  years,  at  1/3  per  week  the  first 
year,  r/6  the  second  year,  and  2/-  the  third  year — M''^-  Duncan  to 
have  two  months'  trial  of  each  new  beginner  before  wages  commence. 
The  Managers  reserved  the  powers  to  put  any  of  them  to  service 
when  they  are  eleven  years  old. 

The  Town  Council,  on  2nd  November,  1790,  in  order  to  assist 
the  Managers  in  suppressing  the  begging  practice,  recommend  to 
the  Magistrates  to  make  a  similar  proclamation  with  that  of  Glasgow 
against  vagrants  and  beggars,  and  to  look  for  a  proper  place  to 
confine  them  in. 

5th  July,  1791. — The  meeting  agreed  that  in  place  of  Saturday 
afternoon,  which  has  for  some  time  past  been  allowed  people  in  the 
house  for  recreation,  it  should  be  changed  to  Wednesday  afternoon, 
as  a  more  proper  day. 

5th  July,  1 79 1. — James  Andrew,  the  clerk  and  schoolmaster, 
represented  to  the  meeting  that,  from  frailty  and  indisposition,  he 
was  unable  to  discharge  the  duties  of  his  office,  and  wanted  an 
assistant.  The  Managers  appointed  a  Committee  to  endeavour  to 
find  a  proper  successor,  and  to  report. 

15th  July,  1 7  91. — The  Committee  reported  Thomas  Crichton, 
schoolmaster  in  Paisley,  as  a  proper  person  for  the  office  of  school- 
master and  clerk  to  the  house,  both  from  his  abilities  as  a  teacher 
and  his  moral  character.  The  Managers  accordingly  appointed 
M""-  Crichton  to  be  assistant-schoolmaster  and  clerk,  and  to  have  a 
salary  of  ^25  yearly  during  the  life  of  the  present  teacher, 
M""-  Andrew. 

I  St  November,  1791. — Upon  the  application  of  Th^-  Drummond 
for  liberty  to  leave  the  house,  the  Managers,  considering  that  he  is 
now  so  well  instructed  in  the  violin,  allow  him  to  go,  and  appoint 
the  former  Committee  anent  him  to  speak  with  his  master  about 
further  instruction. 

8th  February,  1792. — The  Managers  allowed  M""*-  Robertson, 
the  mistress,  ^2  los.  yearly,  to  enable  her  to  give  tea  and  sugar  to 
sick  people  of  the  house. 

5th  June,  1792. — Agreed  to  appoint  M""-  Crichton,  the  master  of 
the  house,  to  be  clerk  to  the  cashier,  as  there  was  now  great  trouble 


1750    TILL    1800.  25 

attending  this  office,  in  keeping  the  accounts  and  purchasing 
victuals ;  and  also  agreed  that  application  be  made  to  one  of  the 
banks  in  town  for  a  cash  credit  on  account  current,  in  order  that 
any  money  in  the  cashier's  hands  from  time  to  time  may  be  deposited 
for  behoof  of  the  house,  by  which  a  saving  of  interest  may  be  made, 
and  also  that  liberty  may  be  had  of  drawing  to  the  extent  of  _;^5o  in 
case  of  necessity — M""'  Crichton's  remuneration  to  be  afterwards  fixed. 

4th  September,  1792. — The  Rev^-  M"^-  Gillies  applied  to  the 
Managers  to  have  a  person  who  had  been  "deprived  of  his  reason" 
to  be  taken  into  the  Hospital,  but  they  declined  to  do  so,  "  both  on 
account  of  there  being  no  proper  apartment  in  it  for  lodging  him, 
nor  fit  persons  to  attend  to  him  ";  and,  besides,  that  it  is  not  the 
original  design  and  intent  of  the  Hospital  for  lodging  mad  persons. 
The  Managers  were  also  of  opinion  that  some  representation  should 
be  made  by  the  Sessions  and  them  to  the  Magistrates  and  Town 
Council  for  erecting  a  proper  house  for  mad  persons,  which  is  every 
day  becoming  more  necessary  from  the  great  increase  of  the  inhabi- 
tants of  the  town. 

6th  January,  1793. — The  Managers  voted  the  sum  of  two  guineas 
to  M""-  Lochhead,  weaver  in  Sneddon,  for  teaching  the  children  in 
the  house  church  music. 

5th  February,  1793. — The  Managers  appointed  a  Committee  to 
make  application  to  the  Magistrates  and  Town  Council  anent 
building  cells. 

3rd  September,  1793. — There  was  laid  before  the  meeting  a  letter 
from  M""-  Whyte,  surgeon,  addressed  to  the  Managers,  enclosing  five 
guineas  for  the  benefit  of  the  Hospital,  and  containing  some  remarks 
upon  his  account. 

ist  October,  1793. — A  committee  who  had  been  formerly  ap- 
pointed to  meet  with  M""-  Whyte,  surgeon,  reported  "  that  he  had 
offered  to  serve  the  house  at  ;^i2  per  year,"  which  the  Managers 
agreed  to  ;  "and  that  his  attendance  shall  be  as  formerly." 

5th  April,  1796. — The  children  of  the  Hospital  were  this  day 
examined,  and  the  Managers  being  well  satisfied  with  their  pro- 
ficiency, agree  that,  on  account  of  the  present  high  price  of  provi- 
sions, the  Master  shall  receive  a  present  of  ten  guineas  for  his  en- 
couragement. 

20th  June,  1796. — The  meeting  ordered  that  a  strait  jacket  be 
immediately  furnished  for  the  Hospital,  as  they  consider  necessary 
to  be  put  upon  persons  in  the  state  of  Margaret  Mitchell,  who  was 
in  a  deranged  state  of  mind. 

2nd  August,  1796. — Agreed  that  John  Whyte  shall  continue  as 
surgeon  to  Hospital  until  ist  June  next,  and  ordered  the  Clerk  to 
inform  the  rest  of  the  surgeons  of  the  town,  who  petitioned  for  their 
succeeding  in  rotation  to  said  office,  that  if  they  think  of  petitioning 
further  they  must  do  it  in  the  months  of  April  or  May,  as  the  sur- 
geon is  always  chosen  the  first  Tuesday  of  June. 

c 


26  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

7th  March,  1797. — M'^s- Robertson,  the  mistress  of  the  Hospital, 
having,  in  consequence  of  her  faihng  health,  resigned  her  situation, 
M^^-  Montgomery  was  chosen  her  successor. 

13th  June,  1797. — The  meeting  agreed  that  the  master  of  the 
house,  Th^-  Crichton,  shall  have  forty-five  pounds  stg.  for  his  yearly 
salary,  besides  ^5  stg.  for  doing  the  business  of  cashier. 

4th  July,  1797. — Agreed  that  the  house  shall  be  visited  by  one 
of  the  Managers  every  day  in  the  week,  except  Sabbath  and  Tues- 
day, according  to  the  original  articles  of  the  house  ;  and  that  said 
Director  shall  each  day  he  visits  write  down  in  a  book  his  report 
respecting  the  state  of  the  house.  It  is  agreed  that  any  Manager 
neglecting  to  visit  the  house  in  his  turn  shall  pay  sixpence  stg. ; 
but  if  any  Manager  finds  it  inconvenient,  he  shall  have  it  in  his 
power  to  send  another  of  the  Managers  in  his  place. 

23rd  January,  1798. — Ordered  that  Adam  Muir,  in  a  deranged 
state  of  mind,  be  admitted  into  the  cells. 

As  the  Managers  at  this  time  commenced  to  receive  a  few  luna- 
tics, they  must  have  made  some  arrangements  for  their  accommoda- 
tion. 

3rd  April,  1796, — Agreed  that  M''^-  Montgomery,  the  present 
mistress  of  the  Hospital,  shall  have  ^^20  stg.  of  yearly  salary,  be- 
sides a  gratuity  of  ^^  stg.  for  tea. 

2nd  January,  1799.— The  meeting,  considering  the  increasing 
number  of  insane  persons  for  whose  admission  application  is  made 
to  this  Hospital,  and  that  there  is  no  proper  accommodation  nor 
people  to  take  care  of  persons  in  such  unhappy  circumstances,  ap- 
point a  committee  to  wait  on  the  Magistrates  and  Council  respect- 
ing what  plan  may  be  most  proper  to  be  adopted  for  getting  such 
persons  better  accommodated  and  taken  care  of. 

24th  April,  1799. — M""^-  Montgomery  having  given  up  her  charge 
as  mistress  of  this  Hospital,  the  meeting  unanimously  made  choice 
of  M""^-  Jackson  (Helen  Anderson)  to  succeed  her  in  the  office. 

2nd  September,  1800. — Agreed  that,  on  account  of  the  exceeding 
high  price  of  provisions,  the  master  of  the  House  shall  receive  a 
present  of  ;^io. 

13th  January,  1801. — The  meeting,  taking  into  their  consideration 
the  very  high  price  of  all  the  necessaries  of  life,  appoint  Messrs. 
Robert  Brown,  W'"-  Niven,  Robert  Speir,  as  a  committee  to  make 
enquiry  if  any  other  kind  of  food  than  what  is  commonly  used 
might  be  more  advantageous  for  the  house. 

The  first  proposal  by  the  Council  to  obtain  powers  to  levy  a  tax 
on  ale  came  before  the  Council  on  31st  October,  1752,  It  is  likely, 
however,  such  an  important  matter  would  frequently  have  been  con- 


175°    TILL    1800.  27 

sidered  previously  in  private  by  the  members  of  Council,      This 
important  resolution  is  as  follows  : — 

"  Said  day  it  was  agreed  by  a  majority  of  voices  that  application 
should  be  made  to  Parliament  for  an  act  imposing  two  pennies 
Scots  on  the  pint  of  ale  vended  within  the  burgh  and  suburbs  there- 
of, as  extensive  as  the  same  can  be  obtained ;  and  in  order  to  the 
furtherance  and  pursuance  of  this  act,  they  thereby  nominate  and 
appoint  the  three  Magistrates  presently  in  office,  together  with 
\Villiam  Caldwell,  James  Storey,  and  W™-  Langate,  late  Bailie,  as  a 
committee,  to  meet  from  time  to  time  and  concert  the  proper  means 
to  be  taken  for  making  the  said  application  and  the  method  and 
nature  thereof,  and  to  report  from  time  to  time  as  to  their  pro- 
cedure.'"' 

The  subject  again  came  before  the  Council  on  20th  February, 
1753,  when  it  was  resolved  by  a  majority  "that  application  be  made 
to  the  Earl  of  Dundonald  for  purchasing  his  concurrence  in  allow- 
ing the  act  to  comprehend  his  Lordship's  lands  and  estate  to  the 
distance  of  half  a  mile  beyond  the  boundary  of  the  burgh  on  all 
sides ;"'  and  that  his  Lordship  for  this  privilege  should  receive  a 
sum  not  exceeding  ;^ioo.  The  objectors  to  this  agreement  were 
Robert  Finlayson,  late  Bailie,  and  Thomas  Kerr,  postmaster,  who 
took  "  instruments  in  the  hands  of  the  clerk."  The  Act  of  Parlia- 
ment which  the  Council  obtained  in  this  year  was  entitled  "  an  Act 
for  laying  a  duty  of  two  pennies  Scots,  or  one-sixth  part  of  a  penny 
sterHng,  on  every  Scots  pint  of  ale  and  beer  which  shall  be  brewed 
for  sale,  brought  into,  tapped,  or  sold  within  the  town  of  Paisley 
and  liberties  thereof,  in  the  county  of  Renfrew,  for  improving  the 
navigation  ofthe  river  Cart,  and  other  purposes."  The  preamble  of  this 
Act,  which  fully  explains  all  that  it  contemplated,  was  as  follows  : — • 

"  Whereas  the  town  of  Paisley,  in  the  county  of  Renfrew,  carries 
on  a  considerable  trade  in  the  manufactures  of  thread  and  linen 
cloth,  and  is  situate  on  the  River  Cart,  which  falls  into  the  Clyde 
about  four  miles  below  Glasgow  ;  which  said  River  Cart  is,  by  rea- 
son of  the  banks,  stones,  and  rocks  therein,  scarcely  navigable  to 
the  town  of  Paisley  except  at  the  highest  spring  tides  ;  and  the 
making  of  the  said  river  practicable  and  commodious  at  all  times 
would  be  a  great  advantage  to  the  said  town ;  and  whereas  there  is 
not  at  present  a  sufficient  Prison,  Court-house,  School-house  for  the 
education  of  the  children,  or  House  of  Correction  for  the  punish- 
ment of  vagrants  in  the  said  town,  and  the  Shambles  are  at  present 
in  the  middle  of  the  town,  and  a  great  nuisance  to  the  inhabitants  ; 
and,  whereas  the  inhabitants  of  the  said  town  have  at  their  own  ex- 
pence  built  a  new  church,  but  cannot  provide  for  a  minister  to  be 
called  thereto,  nor  can  they  make  the  said  river  navigable,  build  a 
Prison,  Court-house,  and  House  of  Correction,  or  remove  the 
Shambles  to  some  more  commodious  place,  without  the  aid  of  Par- 
liament, the  Bailies  and  Council  of  the  said  Burgh  of  Paisley  do 
therefore  most  humbly  beseech  your  Majesty  that  it  maybe  enacted, 
and  be  it  enacted  by  the  King's  most  excellent  Majesty,  by  and  with 


28  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

the  advice  and  consent  of  the  Lords  Spiritual  and  Temporal  and 
Commons  in  the  present  Parliament  assembled,  and  by^the  autho- 
rity of  the  same,  that  from  and  after  the  24th  day  of  June,  in  the 
year  of  our  Lord,  1753,  for  the  term  of  thirty-one  years,  and  from 
thence  to  the  end  of  the  then  next  session  of  Parliament,  there  shall 
be  laid  an  imposition  or  duty  of  two  pennies  Scots,  or  one-sixth  part 
of  a  penny  sterling,  over  and  above  the  duty  of  excise  paid  or  pay- 
able to  his  Majesty,  his  heirs  and  successors,  upon  every  Scots  pint 
of  ale  and  beer  that  shall  be  either  brewed,  brought  into,  tapped,  or 
sold  within  the  said  town  of  Paisley  and  liberties  thereof  ;  and 
that  the  said  imposition  or  duty  shall  be  paid  or  made  payable  by 
the  brewers  for  sale,  or  venders,  or  sellers  of  all  such  ale  and  beer 
to  the  Magistrates  and  Town  Council  of  the  Burgh  of  Paisley  for  the 
time  being,  who  are  hereby  nominated  and  appointed  Trustees  for 
making  the  said  River  navigable,  building  a  Prison,  Court-house, 
School-house,  and  House  of  Correction  ;  providing  a  maintenance 
for  the  ministers  to  be  called  to  the  said  new  church  ;  and  removing 
the  Shambles  to  a  more  commodious  place ;  and  also  for  putting 
in  execution  all  other  the  powers  in  and  by  this  Act  given ; 
and  that  the  money  so  raised  and  collected  by  this  Act  is,  and 
hereby  shall,  be  vested  in  the  said  Trustees  ;  and  the  same  and 
every  part  thereof  shall  be  paid,  applied,  and  disposed  of,  or 
assigned  to  and  for  the  several  uses,  intents,  and  purposes  afore- 
said, the  reasonable  charges  expended,  or  to  be  expended  in  about, 
or  by  reason  of  passing  the  present  Act  of  Parliament  being  first 
deducted." 

The  other  parts  of  this  Act  relate  to  the  clauses  for  carrying  it 
out.  The  Council  greatly  over-estimated  the  amount  of  money 
derivable  from  this  tax,  for  it  was  altogether  inadequate  to  carry 
out  the  important  purposes  the  Act  contemplated.  At  the  expiry 
of  the  period  to  which  the  Act  was  limited,  all  that  had  been 
realized  from  the  tax  was  the  sum  of  ^2634  6s.  4^d.  For  three 
years  at  the  commencement  the  town  collected  the  tax,  but  after- 
wards it  appears  to  have  been  farmed  out.  The  tax  in  1757  was 
^76  los.;  in  i762,;,^ioo;  in  1767,  £iS;  in  1772,  ^^85;  in  1777, 
4,85;  in  1782,  ;^^85  ;  in  1783, ^^105  ;  in  1784,  ^105;  and  for 
sixteen  months  after  the  Act  expired,  ^^120.  The  money  obtained 
by  this  tax  was  expended  as  follows  : — 

1753. — Expense  connected  with  obtain- 
ing the  Act,   ...  ...  ...p/^271      I     8 

1754. — Building  the  (jrammar  School, ...        298     o     o 

1758. — Building  the  Prison,  Courthouse, 

&c.,     ...  _       1053     7     o 

1767. — Building,  fitting-up,  and  complet- 
ing the  Flesh  Market  and 
Slaughterhouse,  ...  ...       925   10     9^ 

1774. — Deepening  of  the  River,  ...         86     6  11 

^2634     6     4}^ 


1750    TILL    1800.  29 

Although  the  deepening  of  the  river  and  the  improvement  of  the 
navigation  formed  the  first  and  principal  reason  for  this  impost  on  the 
consumpt  of  ale  in  the  town,  yet  it  will  be  seen  from  the  foregoing 
statement  of  expenditure  that  only  ;^86  6s.  iid.  was  applied  to 
that  purpose.  No  reason  is  assigned  for  this  course,  but  we 
suppose  the  Council  considered  the  erection  of  the  Grammar 
School,  Prison,  and  Flesh  Market  were  the  items  of  which  the 
inhabitants  stood  most  in  need.  They  would,  no  doubt,  also  be 
influenced  by  the  fact  that  the  revenue  arising  from  the  tax,  with 
what  they  would  otherwise  advance,  would  be  sufficient  to  enable 
them  to  complete  these  useful  and  important  undertakings.  Very 
likely,  also,  they  believed  that  they  could  obtain  a  renewal  of  the 
Act,  which  would  enable  them  to  apply  the  proceeds  to  the 
improvement  of  the  river.  When  the  beer  tax  ceased  to  be 
collected,  the  account  showing  the  apphcation  of  the  money  was 
examined  and  signed  as  correct  on  23d  March,  1786,  by  the 
Overseers  appointed  under  the  Act  of  Parliament.  The  balance  of 
this  account,  which  includes  interest,  amounted  to  ^1450  os.  2}4d, 
being  the  sum  advanced  by  the  Council,  in  addition  to  what  they 
received  from  the  beer  tax,  in  the  erection  of  the  Grammar  School. 
The  Overseers  who  signed  this  account  were  George  Houston  of 
Johnstone,  Gavin  Ralston  of  Ralston,  and  Charles  Maxwell  of 
Merksworth. 

Notwithstanding  the  general  dislike  to  this  tax  among  the  in- 
habitants, the  Council  resolved  to  apply  to  Parliament  to  have  it 
renewed.  The  inhabitants,  however,  were  strongly  opposed  to  this 
proposal,  and  particularly  the  Societies,  which  now  exercised  a 
considerable  influence  in  the  community.  The  Maltmen's  Society 
gave  the  resolution  of  the  Council  their  most  determined  opposition. 
On  loth  June,  1784,  at  a  meeting,  when  "the  Boxmaster,  Collector, 
and  a  great  majority  of  the  trade"  were  present,  "they  resolved 
that  the  said  Bill,  in  so  far  at  least  as  relates  to  the  twopenny  tax, 
ought  to  be  vigorously  opposed  as  a  grievous  and  unnecessary 
burden  upon  the  inhabitants,  and  highly  prejudicial  to  the  country 
in  general,  and  to  the  interests  of  this  Society  in  particular.  Resolve 
that  this  Society  will  cheerfully  concur  with  such  of  the  Societies 
and  public-spirited  inhabitants  of  Paisley  who  entertain  similar 
sentiments  of  the  evil  tendency  of  this  Bill ;  and  will,  to  the  utmost 
of  their  abiUty,  contribute  to  a  strenuous  opposition  thereof  in 
Parliament ;  and  it  is  in  the  meantime  enjoined  upon  the  Box- 
master  to  transmit  a  copy  of  these  resolutions  to  the  most  patriotic 
members  in  both  Houses  of  Parliament,  humbly  soliciting  their 
countenance  and  support  in  such  measures  as  shall  be  adopted  for 
the  above  purpose  ;  and  likewise,  to  transmit  a  copy  thereof  to  the 
different  Incorporations  and  Societies  of  Maltsters  and  Brewers  in 
other  towns,  requesting  their  aid  and  concurrence  in  this  matter, 
which  ought  to  be  looked  upon  as  a  common  cause  throughout 
Scotland." 

The  strong  and  very  unanimous  opposition  of  the  inhabitants  to 


30  HISTORY  Ul"  PAISLEV. 

the  renewal  of  this  tax  upon  ale  and  beer  caused  the  Council  to 
relinquish  the  Bill,  after  they  and  its  opponents  in  the  town  had 
expended  about  ;^5oo. 

From  the  steady  and  continued  increase  of  the  population  in  this 
period,  it  became  necessary  to  erect  more  places  of  worship.  The 
first  of  these  to  be  built  was  the  High  Church,  which  was  finished  in 
1754,  at  an  expense,  not  including  the  ground,  of  ;^  1558  12s.  lod. 
Of  that  sura  the  Council  paid  ^173  9s.  6d.,  and  the  balance  was 
advanced  by  a  number  of  the  inhabitants,  who  in  return  obtained 
sittings  in  the  church.  The  plan  of  the  building  was  drawn  by 
John  ^M■lyte,  one  of  the  Bailies.  The  first  minister  was  the  Rev. 
James  Baine,  who  w-as  translated  from  Killearn,  and  inducted  on 
22d  April,  1756.  His  stipend  was  ^100,  including  allowance  for 
manse  and  glebe.  In  December,  1765,  he  gave  up  his  charge,  and 
accepted  a  call  to  be  pastor  of  the  Relief  congregation,  South 
College  Street,  Edinburgh.^  His  successsor  was  the  Rev.  George 
Mure,  Old  Cumnock,  Avho  was  inducted  30th  October,  1766.  His 
stipend  was  ;^  11 2,  including  allowance  for  manse  and  glebe,  but  it 
was  afterwards  increased  to  ;;^i2o.  In  1776,  the  congregation 
agreed  to  erect  the  High  Church  Steeple,  from  a  plan  also  suppUed 
by  Bailie  Whyte.  It  was  not  till  June,  1771,  that  the  clock  in  the 
steeple  was  put  in  motion.  Mr.  Mure  died  20th  July,  1771.-  His 
successor  was  the  Rev.  William  Taylor,  Lainshaw,  who  w^as  in- 
ducted 2istjuly,  1772,  the  stipend  being  ;^i2o.  He  was  trans- 
lated to  the  High  Church,  Glasgow,  in  1780.  He  was  succeeded 
by  the  Rev.  John  Findlay,  a  probationer  residing  in  Glasgow, 
who  was  ordained  14th  March,  1781.     His  stipend  was  also  ;^  120. 

The  population  being  still  on  the  increase,  another  church  in 
connection  with  the  Church  of  Scotland  was  required,  and  the 
Middle  Church  was  erected  near  the  High  Church  in  1781.  It  con- 
tained 1520  sittings,  of  which  865  belonged  to  those  who  subscribed 
towards  its  erection,  and  655  to  the  community.  The  expense  of 
the  erection  was  ;£2\\i  5s.  gd.,  and  a  number  of  the  inhabitants 
subscribed  ^2149  i^^-  7*^-  The  plan  of  this  church  was  drawn  by 
Samuel  Henning,  wright  ( Council  Records,  25th  June,  17 yg). 

The  burgh,  at  its  disjunction  from  the  Abbey  Parish  in  1736, 

^  Mr.  Baine  died  17th  Januaiy,  1790,  in  the  eightieth  jear  of  his  age  and 
sixtieth  of  his  ministry.  His  published  ■works  were — Sermon  preached  at  the 
translation  of  the  Rev.  Mr.  Wotherspoon  from  Beith  to  the  Low  Church, 
Paisley,  i6th  June,  1757  ;  Sermon  preached  at  Edinburgh,  2d  December,  1770; 
Volume  of  Sermons,  containing  twenty-five  discourses,  1778. 

-  Mr.  Mure  was  the  author  of  the  following  works  : — An  Essay  on  Christ's 
Cross  and  Crown,  to  which  arc  subjoined  Six  Sermons,  1769  ;  The  Parable  of 
the  Sower,  Illustrated  and  Applied,  1 769  ;  The  Parable  of  the  Tares,  in  Twenty- 
one  Sermons,  to  which  are  arlded  Two  Semions,  1771  ;  A  Sermon  preached  at 
the  Opening  of  the  Synod  of  Glasgow  and  Ayr,  on  13th  October,  1769;  Eour 
Table  Services,  delivered  in  Tollbooth  Church,  Edinburgh,  i6th  March,  1 760; 
Semion  preached  20th  Ajnil,  1769,  at  the  Admission  of  the  Rev.  Colin  Camp- 
bell to  the  Church  and  Parish  of  Renfrc\\'. 


1750    TILL    1800.  31 

formed  one  parish ;  but  by  a  deed  of  the  Court  of  Teinds,  con- 
curred in  by  the  Presbytery  and  the  Council,  it  was  on  20th 
February,  1781,  divided  into  three  parishes,  the  Low  Church  Parish, 
the  High  Church  Parish,  and  the  Middle  Church  Parish,  these 
names  being  given  from  the  position  in  which  the  churches  were 
situated.     The  parishes  were  divided  as  follows  : — 

"  The  Laigh  Church  division,  from  the  bridge  on  the  south  side, 
Water  Wynd,  (both  sides  southward).  Water  Brae,  whole  of  Causey- 
side,  (both  sides),  New  Street,  Shuttle  Street,  Orchard  Street,  and 
lanes  off  that,  Saucel,  Seedhill,  Gordon's  Lone,  Prussia  Street,  and 
Common  Lone  (Canal  Street)  to  Storie  Street,  (both  sides).  To  the 
High  Church  Parish,  head  of  New  Street,  both  sides  westwards  as 
far  as  the  town's  property,  including  Storie  Street  and  houses  in 
Oakshaw  west  from  the  church.  To  the  Middle  Church  Parish, 
from  the  head  of  New  Street  eastwards  to  the  Cross,  (both  sides),  in- 
cluding the  houses  round  the  Cross,  and  to  the  Old  Bridge,  (both 
sides),  and  to  Dyers'  Wynd,  School  Wynd,  including  these  streets, 
and  the  whole  of  the  town's  property  to  the  north  thereof"  (Council 
Records,  26th  February,  17  81). 

The  Rev.  John  Snodgrass,  the  first  minister  of  the  Middle 
Church,  was  translated  from  Dundee,  and  inducted  to  the  pastorate 
on  2ist  July,  1 78 1.  His  stipend  at  first  was  in  all  ^120,  but  three 
years  afterwards  it  was  raised  to  ;^  130.  He  died  in  1787;^  and 
Jonathan  Rankine,  his  successor,  was  ordained  to  the  charge  on 
22nd  June,  1797,  his  stipend  being  ;^i45. 

The  first  congregation  of  dissenters  from  the  Church  of  Scotland 
in  Paisley  was  the  Associated  Session  of  Paisley  and  Greenock, 
known  also  by  the  name  of  Antiburghers.  The  first  place  in  which 
they  worshipped  (1750)  was  the  building  in  Moss  Row,  called 
the  Meeting-house,  which  has  been  already  frequently  referred  to. 
They  had  no  regularly  appointed  minister  till  the  election  of 
Mr.  James  Elice,  probationer,  in  1756.  Their  first  church  was  on 
the  site  of  the  present  one  in  Oakshaw  Street,  and  was  erected  in 
1762  ( W.  Scmple's  History,  p.  308).  On  28th  August,  1787, 
Mr.  William  Ferrier  was  ordained  as  colleague  to  Mr.  Elice,  whose 
health  was  failing.  This  union  continued  till  the  death  of  Mr.  Elice, 
on  loth  June,  1798,  in  the  sixty-sixth  year  of  his  age  and  forty- 
second  of  his  ministry. 

The  church  belonging  to  what  was  called  the  Burgher  congre- 
gation, in  Abbey  Close,  was  erected  in  1769.  On  14th  June  in 
that  year,  Mr.  Samuel  Kinloch,  the  first  minister,  was  ordained  to 
the  pastorate  (Historical  Sketch  of  that  Church,  1866). 

In  1767,  a  Congregational  Church  was  opened  in  the  Abbey 
buildings;  and  in   1782,  a  Berean  Church  was  opened  in  New 

■^  His  literary  productions  were  a  sermon  preached  in  Edinburgh  before  the 
Society  for  Propagating  Christian  Knowledge  in  Scotland,  on  29th  May,  1794-  — 
Edinburgh,  1795.  And  two  years  after  his  death,  a  Commentary  on  part  of  the 
Boole  of  Revelations,  printed  pages  592. — Paisley,  1799. 


32  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Sneddon  Street, — the  first  minister  being  the  Rev.  WilUam 
Neilson  (  IV.  SeniJ>le's  History,  p.  308). 

In  17S2,  a  Chapel  of  Relief  was  built  in  Canal  Street.  The  first 
minister  was  the  Rev.  Patrick  Hutchison,  who  was  translated  from 
St.  Ninians,  and  inducted  22nd  May,  1783. 

The  first  Cameronian,  or  Reformed  Presbyterian  Church,  was  in 
Lowndes  Lane,  New  Sneddon  Street.  It  was  first  used  as  a 
preaching  station  ;  and  the  Rev.  Thomas  Henderson,  who  lived  at 
Kilmalcolm,  and  had  a  church  there,  officiated  in  the  Paisley  church 
every  third  Sunday. 

The  Gaelic  Church,  in  Oakshaw  Street,  was  erected  in  1793,  as  a 
place  of  worship  for  the  numerous  persons  from  the  Highlands  of 
Scotland  residing  in  Paisley  and  neighbourhood  who  did  not 
thoroughly  understand  the  English  language.  The  services  were 
appointed  to  be  regularly  conducted  in  the  Gaelic  tongue,  and  the 
church  to  be  connected  with  the  Church  of  Scotland,  and  to  form 
one  of  the  churches  of  the  Presbytery  of  Paisley.  But  no  parish  or 
territory  was  assigned  to  this  church.  The  first  minister  was 
Mr.  William  Simpson,  who  was  ordained  in  1795. 

In  the  Low  Parish  Church,  Mr.  Peter  Scott,  who  had  been 
ordained  pastor,  as  already  stated,  in  1740,  died  on  4th  August, 
1753.  Robert  Findlay,  D.D.,  was  called  from  Galston,  as  his 
successor,  to  this  church,  on  29th  January,  1754.  In  1756,  he  was 
translated  to  the  Ramshorn  Parish  Church,  Glasgow,  and  afterwards 
he  filled  the  Divinity  Chair  of  the  University  in  that  city,  till  he 
died,  in  18 14.  Mr.  Wotherspoon,  who  was  called  from  Beith, 
succeeded  Dr.  Findlay,  and  was  inducted  on  i6th  June,  1757. 
His  stipend  was  fixed  in  whole  at  ^100.  In  1766,  he  received  a 
call  from  a  congregation  in  Dundee,  but  the  Council,  assisted  by 
many  of  the  inhabitants,  successfully  opposed  his  removal.  In 
April  of  that  year,  the  Council  presented  him  with  ^15,  as  a 
compliment;  and  in  October  following,  ;^i2  annually  was  added  to 
his  stipend.  On  22nd  June,  1768,  he  resigned  his  charge,  and  went 
to  America,  where  he  received  the  appointment  of  President  of 
Perceton  College,  New  Jersey.  His  death  took  place  in  1794,  at 
the  age  of  seventy-two  years.  His  successor  was  Mr.  James 
Morrison,  minister  of  Strathblane,  who  was  inducted  29th  June, 
1769.  Mr.  Morrison  died  28th  March,  1781  ;  and  the  next 
incumbent  was  Colin  Gillies,  assistant  and  successor  to  Mr.  David 
Turner,  West  Parish  Church,  Greenock,  who  was  inducted  19th 
December,  1781.^  On  22nd  January,  1790,  the  Council  agreed  to 
fit  up  two  chandeliers,  of  twelve  candles  each,  in  the  church. 

^  The  following  is  an  extract  from  Rowland  Hill's  journal  of  August  14th, 
1798  :  —  "I  passed  the  evening  at  the  house  of  the  truly  affectionate  son  of 
that  truly  apostolic  man,  the  late  Dr.  Gillies,  the  author  of  the  memoirs  of 
Mr.  Whitefield's  life.  His  house  was  filled  with  good  ministers  of  the  different 
denominations,  all  living  in  affectionate  love  and  cordiality  with  each  other. 
This  makes  Paisley  the  paradise  of  Scotland.  Indeed,  hell  would  be  a  paradise 
if  love  were  there  ;  and  an  earthly  paradise  is  little  better  than  hell,  if  love  be 


175°    TILL    1800.  3^ 

At  this  period  the  Michaelmas  head  court  was  held  the  second 
Friday  after  the  29th  day  of  September  ;  Candlemas  head  court  on 
the  second  Friday  after  the  30th  day  of  January  ;  Beltane  head 
court  on  the  third  Friday  after  Pasch  or  Easter,  being  the  loth 
April  (Council  Records,  4th  October,  1756).  At  Michaelmas  head 
court,  15th  October,  1756,  the  Council  elected  the  following 
committees.     We  omit  the  names  : — 

Lyners,  visitors  of  the  meal  market,  of  wheat,  bread,  and  butter, 
of  iron  works,  of  cow  hides,  &c.,  of  shoe  market,  metsters,  keepers 
of  the  keys  of  the  charter  chest,  of  the  standard  weight,  visitors  of 
malt,  of  Wright  work,  town's  smith,  town's  wright  and  mason,  of 
inspectors  of  bad  yarn,  clerk,  fiscal,  visitors  of  thread  and  reels, 
water  works  keys  lodged,  directors  of  the  poorhouse,  master  of 
work,  and  visitors  of  bad  cloth;  and  on  25th  October,  1760,  they 
elected  six  weavers  "to  be  inspectors  of  ill -counted  yarn  and 
cotton  and  reels  within  ten  quarters,  with  powers  to  inspect  yarn 
and  cotton  brought  into  the  town,  as  well  as  in  shops." 

The  following  is  the  resolution  of  the  Council  of  5th  May,  1767, 
relating  to  the  appointment  of  an  assessor: — 

"  The  Magistrates  and  Council,  considering  the  great  increase  of 
the  town's  inhabitants,  and  the  consequential  multiplicity  of  the 
public  business,  both  respecting  the  community  itself,  as  well  as  the 
administration  of  public  justice,  find  it  necessary,  and  accordingly 
resolve,  to  have  a  lawyer  as  an  assessor  to  the  Magistrates,  as  many 
other  burghs  In  Scotland  have,  that  they  may  consult  him  in  all 
matters  of  importance  ;  and  having  entire  confidence  in  the  integrity 
and  abihty  of  Mr.  Islay  Campbell,  advocate,  hereby  appoint  him 
the  town's  assessor  during  pleasure,  and  appoint  him  a  salary  ^100 
Scots,  or  ^8  6s.  8d.  stg." 

Mr.  Campbell  having  resigned  (the  reason  is  not  stated),  the 
Council,  on  7th  March,  1783,  made  choice  of  Mr.  Robert  CuUen, 
advocate,  to  be  their  assessor,  at  the  same  salary.  He  was  ap- 
pointed one  of  the  Judges  in  the  Court  of  Session,  and  the  Council 
then  appointed  Mr.  Robert  Davidson,  advocate,  to  be  their 
assessor. 

When  the  Council  first  resolved  to  fit  up  lamps  to  light  the  streets, 
they  adopted  an  important  measure  for  the  increase  of  the  comfort 
and  safety  of  the  inhabitants.  It  was  in  November,  1756,  that  they 
first  moved  in  this  matter,  and  their  resolution  is  as  follows  :  — 

"  Said  day,  the  Magistrates  and  Council,  considering  how  much 
the  town  are  in  want  of  lamps  for  the  service  of  the  inhabitants  in 

absent.  My  soul  loves  Paisley,  for  there  I  believe  Christians  love  each  other. 
May  the  precious  leaven  that  is  amidst  them  spread  itself  throughout  the  north  ! 
I  grieve  to  find  so  many  separated  by  human  laws  on  earth,  who  are  all  to  be 
united  in  one  by  Divine  law  in  heaven  and  glory."  A  true  picture  of  the  state 
of  feeling  in  Paisley,  as  it  exists  in  the  present  day,  would  not,  we  fear,  be  so 
flatterine;. 


34  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

the  winter,  and  how  necessary  lamps  are  in  the  night-time  of  that 
season,  have,  therefore,  after  the  good  example  of  other  burghs,  re- 
solved, and  hereby  resolve,  that  a  competent  number  of  lamps  be 
immediately  purchased  for  the  use  and  service  of  the  inhabitants  of 
the  burgh,  not  exceeding  thirty ;  and  appoint  the  Magistrates  to 
agree  with  tradesmen  for  the  same  ;  and  the  expense  of  making  and 
setting  up  of  the  said  lamps  to  be  advanced  from  the  town's  common 
stock,  but  with  this  provision  that  the  said  lamps  shall  be  maintained 
at  the  expense  of  the  inhabitants  in  oil  and  wicks  for  keeping  the  same 
burning  ;  and  the  inhabitants  shall  also  pay  on  their  own  expense 
the  person  or  persons  to  be  appointed  by  the  INIagistrates  and 
Council  for  cleaning,  keeping,  and  lighting  the  said  lamps." 

It  is  doubtful,  however,  if  this  resolution  was  carried  out  at  that 
period,  for  W.  Semple,  who  lived  in  Paisley  about  that  time,  states 
that  "  in  1768  the  town  erected  a  number  of  lamps  to  give  light  to 
the  streets"  ( JV.  Scmple's  History^  p.  331). 

On  25th  September,  1786,  the  Council  entered  into  a  contract 
with  James  Borland,  merchant  in  Glasgow,  "  to  light  the  lamps  in 
the  town  for  three  years,  at  three -half-pence  per  lamp  each  night, 
and  to  furnish  oil,  &c." 

At  this  time  the  Council  had  two  fire-engines,  but  as  they  were 
considered  insufficient  for  extinguishing  fires  expeditiously,  a  num- 
ber "of  the  principal  inhabitants  in  the  town"  contributed  money 
to  purchase  a  larger  one  for  the  purpose  of  preserving  the  "  town 
from  the  danger  and  hazard  of  fire."  The  Council  agreed  that  the 
fire-engine  should  be  bought  in  London,  along  with  a  leather  pipe. 
The  engine  was  to  be  of  the  kind  marked  No.  4  in  the  London 
proposals,  and  to  be  sent  down  by  sea.  (Council  Records^  4th 
January,  1760).  It  is  not  stated  how  much  money  the  inhabitants 
subscribed,  nor  the  price  of  the  engine. 

The  first  notice  we  have  found  regarding  the  cleaning  of  the 
streets  at  the  public  expense  was  on  24th  July,  177 1,  when  the 
Council  entered  into  an  agreement  Avith  Francis  Douglas,  Abbots - 
inch,  for  having  this  necessary  measure  carried  out.  The  agree- 
ment with  him  was  to  the  effect  that  he  was,  at  his  own  expense,  to 
have  the  exclusive  privilege  "  to  clat  the  whole  streets  and  lanes  in 
this  town,  and  to  carry  off"  the  dung,  ashes,  straw,  and  other  garbage 
that  shall  be  laid  down  without  the  front  or  street  doors,"  for  the 
space  of  three  years.  The  middens  in  back  closes  were,  however, 
to  be  carried  off  by  the  proprietors.  At  the  same  time,  the  in- 
habitants were  discharged  from  laying  down  any  stones  or  rubbish 
on  any  of  the  streets  or  lanes,  unless  in  connection  with  building 
operations,  under  a  penalty  of  5s.  for  each  offence.  This  contract 
and  arrangement  connected  therewith  were  to  be  proclaimed  three 
times  at  the  usual  places  by  tuck  of  drum  (Council  Records,  24th 
July,  1771).  On  ist  June,  1792,  the  Council  enact  that  none  of 
die  inhabitants  within  the  burgh  be  allowed  to  lay  down  sand  or  stones 
on  the  streets  for  the  purpose  of  bruising  the  same  in  time  coming.'' 


1750  TiLi,  1800.  35 

The  Magistrates  and  Council  considered  it  part  of  their  duty  to 
regulate  the  way  in  which  the  measurement  of  the  mason  work  of 
new  buildings  should  be  done;  and  on  26th  January,  1781,  they 
enacted  "  that  the  side  walls  of  houses  or  buildings  within  the 
liberties  of  the  town  of  Paisley  shall  be  measured  on  the  inside  of 
the  house,  from  gavil  to  gavil,  and  the  joist  gavils  on  the  outside,  as 
from  corner  to  corner,  and  the  measurement  thereof  to  be  cast  up 
according  to  such  measure." 

Very  few  resolutions  appear  in  the  Council  Records  regarding  the 
watching  of  the  town  at  night  by  the  town  guard.  It  appears  to 
have  become  the  practice  for  the  inhabitants,  when  it  fell  by 
rotation  to  them  to  watch,  to  provide  substitutes.  To  check  this 
practice,  the  Council  resolved  that  "  in  order  that  the  town  guard 
may  be  on  a  respectable  footing  for  the  safety  of  the  inhabitants,  all 
heads  of  families  shall  mount  guard,  and  not  send  any  person  in 
their  place,  under  the  penalty  of  half-a-crown  for  each  transgression, 
unless  such  person  shall  give  in  an  excuse  to  be  accepted  and 
approven  by  the  Magistrates  (Council  Records,  24th  November, 
1792). 

The  westmost  portion  of  the  range  of  Oakshaw  Hill,  the  site  of  the 
prsetorium  of  the  Roman  Cam]),  and  called  the  Ilutt  in  this  period, 
was  formed  into  a  bowling-green  in  1758.^  This  was  done  by  the 
Council  "  for  the  benefit  of  the  community,  and  they  authorised  the 
Magistrates  to  receive  estimates  of  the  expense  of  furnishing  the  same 
and  agreeing  with  tradesmen"  ( Council  Records,  25th  November, 
1758).  No  time  apparently  was  lost  in  proceeding  with  the 
formation  of  the  bowling-green,  for  on  27th  February  following 
"  they  appointed  the  fir  trees  that  are  now  cut  down  in  the  Hutt  at 
Oakshawhead  to  be  sold  by  roup."'  On  4th  January,  1760,  the 
Council  "  authorised  the  Magistrates  to  write  to  London  for  twenty- 
four  pairs  of  bowls  for  the  town's  bowling-green."  The  dimensions 
of  the  bowling-green  were  sixty-three  feet  long  and  thirty-eight  feet 
broad.  On  9th  January,  1761,  the  Magistrates  reported  to  the 
Council  that  they  had  subscribed  a  tack  in  favour  of  Hugh  Fulton, 
gardener  in  Paisley,  of  the  town  bowling-green  at  the  Hutt  for  the 
space  of  three  years,  at  the  yearly  rent  of  ^8  stg."  In  1784,  "  the 
Council  authorised  the  Magistrates  to  procure  eighteen  bowls  for 
the  bowling-green,  and  to  take  the  tacksman's  receipt  therefor." 
There  was  also  a  billiard -table  at  the  bowling-green  (IV.  Scniple's 
History,  p.  329). 

There  is  every  probability  that  the  first  bowling-green  formed  in 

^  The  game  of  bowls,  a  product  of  the  middle  ages,  has  in  Scotland  been 
traced  to  the  thirteenth  century  ;  a  bowling-alley  or  bowling-green  was  attached 
to  every  manor-house.  During  the  eighteenth  century  the  game  was  practised 
generally,  a  public  bowling-green  being  constructed  in  the  principal  hamlets. 
In  1769  a  Society  of  Lowlers  at  Edinburgh  obtained  from  the  Governors  of 
Heriot's  Hospital  a  lease  of  ground  for  a  public  bowling-green. — Social  Life  in 
Scotland,  by  Rev.  Chs.  Rogers,  vol.  ii.,  p.  301. 


36  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Paisley  was  what  was  called  the  x\bbey  Bowling-green.  It  was 
situated  on  the  east  side  of  Mill  Street,  at  the  southern  end  of  that 
street.  The  Town  Council  bought  this  bowling-green,  along  with  a 
piece  of  ground  adjoining,  "  for  the  benefit  of  the  rock  for  stones 
for  the  streets"  (Coimcil  Records,  loth  November,  1777).  The 
rock  is  hard  whin,  and  the  place  has  been  known  as  the  Town's 
Quarry  for  upwards  of  a  century.  Although  the  ground  was  bought 
by  the  Council  from  Lord  Abercorn,  yet  there  is  every  likelihood 
that  the  bowling-green  was  laid  off  by  the  Earl  of  Dundonald  when 
that  family  lived  at  the  Place  of  Paisley. 

In  1780,  a  brutal  murder  was  committed  on  the  road,  at  the 
north  side  of  the  bowling-green,  at  Oakshawhead.  A  young 
man  of  the  name  of  William  Waterston,  a  painter  by  trade,  became 
acquainted  with  a  young  lady  of  the  name  of  Stewart,  who  was 
believed  to  be  betrothed  to  a  Mr.  Archibald  Paisley,  a  wealthy 
merchant  in  Paisley.  Mr.  Paisley  and  some  friends,  the  night  on 
which  the  murder  took  place,  were  spending  the  evening  in  the 
Saracen's  Head  Inn.  Two  of  them  had  occasion  to  go  to  the  front 
door  of  the  inn,  when  they  saw  Mr.  Waterston  going  along  the 
street.  They  asked  him  to  take  a  walk  up  towards  the  bowling- 
green,  and  he  reluctantly  consented.  When  the  party  came  to  the 
bowling-green,  the  two  men  from  the  inn  commenced  to  question 
him  regarding  his  intimacy  with  Miss  Stewart,  and  desired  him  to 
promise  that  he  would  henceforth  give  up  all  intercourse  with  her. 
On  refusing  to  do  so,  he  was  knocked  down  ;  but  immediately 
rising  to  his  feet,  and  grappling  with  his  assailant,  he  had  the  best  of 
it,  when  the  other  with  a  large  stone  struck  him  so  severely  on  the 
head,  that  he  fell  to  the  ground  insensible,  and  the  others  ran  away. 
Mr.  Waterston  afterwards  recovered  so  far  as  to  be  able  to  go  home 
to  the  Cross,  where  he  resided.  The  surgeon  who  was  sent  for 
found  his  head  to  be  severely  injured,  and  he  died  in  the  course 
of  the  night.  The  two  alleged  assailants,  Mr.  James  Orr  and  Mr. 
Walter  Cross,  absconded  immediately  after  his  death.  They  were, 
however,  summoned  before  the  Court  of  Justiciary  on  a  charge  of 
murder  ;  and  appearing  on  the  day  of  trial,  they  were  acquitted. 
The  popular  belief  was  that  they  were  guilty,  and  had  been  unduly 
indulged  by  the  court.  Mr.  James  Orr  was  afterwards  Sheriff  of 
Renfrewshire ;  and  it  was  generally  believed  that  it  was  Mr.  Walter 
Cross  who  used  the  fatal  stone.  The  stone,  discoloured  as  if  with 
blood,  was  some  time  afterwards  placed  in  the  enclosing  wall  of  the 
bowling-green,  at  the  north  side,  and  had  W.C.  cut  on  it.  Such  is 
the  tradition  about  this  stone  which  we  have  frequently  looked  upon. 
It  remained  there  till  the  wall  was  taken  down  when  the  John 
Neilson  Institution  was  erected.  Mr.  Paisley  afterwards  married 
Miss  Stewart. 

The  Old  Bridge  had  hitherto  been  the  only  means  of  connecting 
the  burgh  with  the  east  side  of  the  river,  unless  we  take  into  account 
the  fords  at  Saucel  and  Sneddon,  which  could  only  be  used  when 


175°  'I'li-i'  1800.  37 

the  river  was  not  in  flood.  In  this  period  many  houses  were  built 
in  Sneddon  district ;  and  a  great  part  of  the  ground  on  the  east 
side  of  the  river  was  laid  off  for  feus  by  the  F)arl  of  Dundonald.  A 
bridge,  instead  of  a  dangerous  ford  at  Sneddon,  became,  therefore, 
absolutely  necessary,  particularly  to  accommodate  the  large  population 
that  had  gathered  on  the  west  side  of  the  river.  Hie  inhabitants 
of  Sneddon  district,  who  appear  to  have  possessed  much  public 
spirit  and  enterprise,  resolved  to  erect  a  bridge  at  Sneddon  ford  at 
their  own  expense.  They,  therefore,  "  presented  a  petition  to  the 
Magistrates  and  Town  Council,  representing  the  great  advantages 
that  would  arise  to  the  public  from  the  erecting  a  bridge  across  the 
water  of  Cart  at  Sneddon  ford  ^ ;  and  as  they  and  several  others  had 
agreed  to  erect  this  bridge  at  their  own  expense,  craved  their 
concurrence  therein ;  and  that  they  would  appoint  a  committee  to 
inspect  the  ground,  in  order  to  conclude  what  part  was  most 
convenient  to  rest  the  bridge  upon  "  (Memorial  of  the  Inhabitants  of 
Sneddon  to  action  of  Suspension  by  the  Magistrates  and  Town  Council, 
p.  5).  No  reply  was  given  by  the  Magistrates  and  Council  to  this 
communication  ;  and  as  it  was  rumoured  that  they  objected  to  the 
erection  of  the  bridge,  because  the  income  from  the  duty  upon  the 
pint  of  ale,  granted  by  a  late  Act  of  Parliament,  would  be  injured, 
the  inhabitants  of  Sneddon  sent  in  another  petition,  and  offered  to 
take  a  long  lease  of  that  duty  at  the  rent  it  then  yielded,  and  also 
offered  to  take  a  lease  of  the  toll  on  the  Old  Bridge  at  the  rent  it 
then  realised.  As  this  petition  was  treated  in  a  similar  way,  the 
inhabitants  of  Sneddon  presented  a  petition  to  the  Justices  of  Peace 
in  Quarter  Sessions,  praying  for  their  authority  to  erect  the  bridge, 
which,  having  been  intimated  to  the  Magistrates  and  Town  Council, 
a  representation  was  preferred  in  their  name,  declining  the  juris- 
diction of  the  court.  This  plea  was  repelled,  and  the  Justices 
appointed  a  committee  to  visit  the  place  where  it  was  proposed  the 
bridge  should  be  built ;  and  Mr.  Cunningham  of  Craigends,  Mr. 
M'Dowall,  the  Sheriff- Depute,  Mr.  Milliken  of  MilHken,  Mr. 
Porterfield  of  Porterfield,  and  Mr.  Alexander  of  Newton,  reported 
to  another  meeting  of  Justices  "  that  they  had  visited  the  place 
where  the  bridge  is  proposed  to  be  built  ;  that  it  w^s  their  opinion 
the  building  of  the  said  bridge  would  be  of  general  advantage  both 
to  the  town  of  Paisley  and  the  country  adjacent ;  and  that  no 
damage  would  thereby  be  done  either  to  the  navigation  of  the  river, 
or  to  the  ford.  Whereupon  the  Justices  unanimously  authorised 
the  petitioners  to  build  and  erect  the  bridge,  conform  to  plan 
thereof."     The  Magistrates  and  Council  were  dissatisfied  with  this 

^  "  Rivers  were  crossed  at  fords,  v>here  the  ordinary  assistants  were  women.  By 
an  easy  adjustment  of  their  garments,  they  waded  across  the  streams,  bearing 
the  men  upon  their  shoulders.  In  reference  to  tliis  practice  James  VI.  rejoiced 
to  inform  his  English  courtiers  that  he  had,  in  his  native  kingdom,  a  town  of 
five  hundred  bridges.  The  king  facetiously  alluded  to  the  small  town  of 
Auchterarder,  on  the  Earn,  of  which  all  the  females  were  ford- women." — Social 
Life  in  Scotland,  by  Dr.  Rogers.,  vol.  i.,  p.  219. 


38  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

decision  of  the  Justices,  and  presented  a  bill  of  suspension  to  the 
Court  of  Session,  in  which  they  repeated  their  declinature  of  the 
jurisdiction  of  the  Justices  of  the  Peace,  and  also  stated  the  following 
objections,  viz.,  that  the  erection  of  the  bridge  would  be  hurtful  to 
the  common  good  of  the  burgh — ist,  by  depriving  them  of 
the  toll  in  use  to  be  uplifted  at  the  old  bridge,  to  avoid 
which  passengers  Avould  go  by  the  new  bridge ;  2nd,  that 
it  Avould  be  equally  hurtful  to  the  duty  exigible  upon  the 
pint  of  ale  brought  into  the  town  from  the  Smithhills,  as,  by  open- 
ing a  new  passage  over  the  river,  it  would  furnish  an  opportunity  to 
the  brewers  from  that  quarter  to  smuggle  their  ale  into  the  town  with- 
out payment  of  the  duty,  and  that  their  stationing  a  collector  for  levy- 
ing this  duty  at  the  new  bridge  would  be  attended  with  double  ex- 
pense ;  that  one  of  the  purposes  specified  in  the  Act  of  Parlia- 
ment imposing  said  duty  upon  the  pint  of  ale  was  for  making  the 
river  navigable,  in  doing  of  which  they  had  already  expended  con- 
siderable sums ;  and  that  the  building  of  this  bridge  would  stop  the 
navigation  between  the  old  and  new  bridges. 

On  2ist  February,  1759,  the  inhabitants  of  the  Sneddon  lodged 
a  memorial  in  answer  to  the  objections  stated  by  the  Town  Coun- 
cil ;  and  the  court,  having  sustained  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Justices, 
a  bridge  consisting  of  two  arches  was  erected  at  the  Sneddon  ford 
in  1760,  leaving  passages  on  each  side  of  the  river  for  access  to  the 
ford.  The  inhabitants  of  the  Sneddon  were  either  unfortunate  in 
the  employment  of  their  architect  or  contractor,  or  they  failed  to 
provide  in  the  specification  of  the  work  for  sufficient  piling  to  sup- 
port the  side  walls,  as  subscriptions  were  raised  in  1792  for  taking 
down  and  rebuilding  the  bridge,  in  consequence  of  the  insufiiciency 
of  the  work.^  At  this  time,  the  strong  animosity  manifested  by  the 
Town  Council  thirty  years  previously  against  this  bridge  had  ceased  to 
exist,  for,  on  20th  June  in  that  year,  they  "agreed  to  subscribe  ^50  to- 
wards rebuilding  the  Sneddon  bridge  by  subscription."  The  bridge 
was  accordingly  taken  down,  and  a  new  one,  consisting  of  one  arch, 
with  a  roadway  twenty-six  feet  in  width,  was  erected  in  1792,  leav- 
ing passages  as  formerly  to  the  river.  On  15th  November,  1793, 
the  "  Council  found  that  the  subscriptions  for  Sneddon  bridge,  with 
the  interest  thereon,  will  be  deficient  for  rebuilding  the  same,  agreed 
that  on  condition  the  gentlemen  of  the  county  will  advance  ^40 
stg.  towards  rebuilding  said  bridge  out  of  the  toll  duties,  that  the 
Council  will  advance  the  like  sum,  to  be  applied  for  the  same  pur- 
pose." Two  years  afterwards,  those  having  charge  of  erecting  the 
bridge  "  reported  to  the  Council  that,  over  and  besides  the  contri- 
butions, there  is  still  a  deficiency  of  ;^i5o  ;  and  the  Council  agreed 
to  pay  ^50  over  and  above  their  former  contributions,  providing 
that  the  gentlemen  of  the  county  pay  the  balance  out  of  their  public 

^  On  Sth  March  and  6th  August,  1793,  contractors  were  advertised  for  in  the 
Glasgoio  Mercury  to  take  down  and  rebuild  the  bridge,  with  one  arch  of  seventy- 
five  feet, 


175°  TILL  iSoo.  39 

funds"  (Council Records,  22nd  July,  1795.)  This  debt  must  have 
been  disposed  of  in  this  way,  for  no  further  aUusion  is  made  to  it  in 
the  Council  minutes,  and  there  is  no  record  to  show  the  cost  of  re- 
erecting  this  bridge. 

The  Abbey,  or,  as  it  was  more  frequently  called,  the  Saucel 
Bridge,  was  erected  in  1763.  The  great  extension  of  the  town, 
in  New  Street,  Orchard  Street,  and  adjoining  streets  on  the  west 
side  of  Cart,  along  with  the  formation  of  streets  and  building  of 
houses  on  the  east  side  of  the  river,  rendered  this  bridge  necessary 
for  the  accommodation  of  the  inhabitants.  It  consisted  of  three 
arches,  and  the  width  of  the  roadway,  including  the  two  parapet 
walls,  was  only  fourteen  feet.  The  minutes  of  the  Town  Council 
are  silent  regarding  the  building  of  this  bridge,  and  there  are,  so  far 
as  we  know,  no  other  records  relating  to  it.  It  is  very  probable 
that  it  was  erected  at  the  expense  of  the  Earl  of  Abercorn,  for  the 
use  of  his  numerous  feuars  in  the  Newtown,  which  he  had  formed 
on  the  lands  surrounding  the  Abbey. 

Criminals  convicted  of  breaking  the  laws  of  the  country  were 
much  more  severely  punished  in  those  days  than  at  the  present 
time,  and  executions  were  more  frequent  throughout  the  country. 
At  Paisley  there  were  several  executions  in  this  period.  On  12th 
and  13th  November,  1753,  Robert  Lyle,  who  resided  in  the  parish 
of  Kilbarchan,  was  tried  at  Paisley  before  the  sheriff  and  a  jury,  for 
the  crime  of  housebreaking  and  theft,  aggravated  by  his  being  by 
habit  and  repute  a  thief  The  following  was  the  finding  of  the 
jury  : — "  The  jury  unanimously  finds  the  said  Robert  Lyle,  pannel, 
guilty,  art  and  part,  of  the  crymes  charged  against  him  in  the  indict- 
ment, respecting  the  goods  stolen  from  off  the  bleachfield  and  yard 
of  James  King,  in  Causeyend  of  Stanely,  and  also  of  the  goods 
stolen  furth  of  the  dwelling-house  of  William  Wilson,  in  Meiklebog; 
and  also  finds  the  mala  fa/iia  charged  against  the  said  panel  in  the 
indictment  proven  ;  but  does  not  find  the  rest  of  the  crymes  charged 
in  the  indictment  against  the  panel,  Robert  Lyle,  proven." 

This  verdict  was  only  for  the  theft  of  some  articles  which  were  of 
little  value,  aggravated  by  the  panel  being  by  habit  and  repute  a 
thief.  The  charges  of  housebreaking  were  not  proven.  The  jury 
gave  their  verdict  on  the  13th  November,  and  he  was  sent  back  to 
prison  till  the  20th  November,  when  he  Avas  brought  up  for  judg- 
ment, and  sentenced  as  follows  : — "  The  Sheriff,  in  respect  of  the 
verdict  of  assize  returned  against  Robert  Lyle,  pannel,  on  13th 
November  instant,  decerns  and  adjudges  the  said  Robert  Lyle  to 
be  taken  to  the  common  place  of  execution  at  Gallowgreen  of  Pais- 
ley, upon  the  27th  day  of  December  next  to  come,  and  there,  be- 
twixt the  hours  of  ten  of  the  clock  forenoon  and  three  in  the  after- 
noon, to  be  hanged  by  the  neck  until  he  be  dead ;  and  ordains  his 
whole  moveable  goods  to  be  confiscated,  and  hereby  confiscates  the 
same,  to  His  Majesty,  and  remands  him  back  to  the  Tollbooth  of 
Paisley  until  that  time  "  (Hector  s  Judicial  Records  of  Raifreius/iire^ 
vol.  i.,  p.  248). 


40  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Robert  Lyle,  who  was  an  old  man  at  this  time,  was  accordingly 
executed  on  the  Gallowgreen,  where  a  great  concourse  of  people 
had  assembled.  The  sentence  was  generally  considered  too  severe, 
even  at  that  time,  and  caused  a  great  sensation  in  the  district. 

On  yth  November,  1765,  Alexander  Provan  was  executed  on  the 
Gallowgreen  for  murdering  his  wife.  This  cruel  murder  was  dis- 
covered, it  is  alleged,  in  a  strange  manner.  Some  persons  called  on 
him,  and,  taking  a  bottle  from  under  a  bed,  to  treat  them  to  some 
whisky,  he  poured  out  blood  into  the  glass  instead.  A  noise  im- 
mediately arose.  The  Rev.  Mr.  Morrison,  of  the  Low  Church 
passing  at  the  time,  went  into  the  house  to  have  some  conversation 
with  Provan,  and  did  not  leave  till  the  poor  man  was  arrested  and 
taken  to  the  prison.  He  was  afterwards  tried,  and  sentenced  to  be 
hanged,  after  having  his  right  hand  cut  off  by  the  wrist.  His  hand 
at  the  place  of  execution  was  fastened  to  a  stake  driven  into  the 
ground,  and  the  rope  about  his  neck  fastened  to  it.  The  hangman 
being  agitated,  struck  the  hand  at  the  wrong  place,  and,  on  Provan 
crying,  "  Cut  and  pull,  cut  and  pull,"  he  was  thrown  off. 

Another  tradition  is  that  the  hangman,  through  trepidation, 
severed  his  hand  by  the  palm,  instead  of  the  wrist,  and  Provan, 
with  a  shriek,  cried,  "  The  tow,  the  tow,  the  tow."  The  rope  was 
immediately  brought,  and  a  termination  put  to  his  sufferings.  The 
axe  used  was  long  kept  as  a  relic,  and  shown  as  Provan's  axe  to 
those  curious  in  these  matters. 

The  next  and  last  execution  in  this  century  was  that  of  Thomas 
Potts,  on  17th  August,  1797.  On  Sabbath  evening,  19th  March, 
1797,  between  the  hours  of  eleven  and  twelve  o'clock,  William  Oak, 
weaver,  Johnstone;  Thomas  Potts,  weaver,  William sburgh.  Paisley; 
and  William  Pullans  and  George  Aitchison,  weavers,  Irvine,  all 
Irishmen,  broke  into  the  house  of  John  Barr,  farmer,  Gryffe  Castle, 
parish  of  Houston,  armed  with  bludgeons,  large  knives,  cutlasses 
or  swords.  The  female  servant  was  the  first  to  get  up,  and  she 
proved  herself  a  heroine  on  the  occasion.  The  ruffians  brandished 
their  weapons  over  the  heads  of  the  inmates,  threatening  to  take  the 
life  of  Barr;  and,  with  horrid  oaths  and  imprecations,  demanded 
money  and  the  keys  of  the  repositories.  They  robbed  the  house  of 
;^ii  in  notes,  ^i  in  silver,  and  some  silver  spoons.  The  spoil 
was  carried  to  Oak's  house,  and  divided  among  the  robbers.  Potts 
had  been  previously  charged  with  other  crimes ;  and  the  large  knife 
with  which  he  was  armed  at  the  robbery  was  discovered  concealed 
in  a  barrel  on  his  premises.^     Potts  and  Aitchison  were  both  appre- 

^  At  the  Circuit  Court,  Glasgow,  in  April,  1792,  Roger  M'Ghie  and  Thomas 
Potts,  weavers,  in  Sandholes  of  Paisley,  natives  of  Ireland,  were  accused  of  the 
crime  of  hamesucken,  or  the  felonious  entering  the  dwelling-house  of  Allan 
Cochran,  farmer  at  Ferguslie.  ;  that  on  the  evening  between  nine  and  ten 
o'clock,  in  November  last,  they  forcibly  entered  the  dwelling-house  of  Mr. 
Cochran,  having  their  faces  blackened,  napkins  tied  round  their  heads,  and 
wearing  their  shirts  outermost ;  and  with  large  sticks  did  beat  and  wound,  to  the 
effusion  of  their  blood,  Mr.  Cochran  and  his  wife,  who,  with  the  aid  of  the  house 
dog  and  by  their  own  exertions,  beat  off  the  assailants.  The  Jury,  by  a  majority 
of  voices,  found  the  libel  not  proven,  whereupon  they  were  immediately  dismissed 
from  the  bar. 


1750    TILL    1800,  41 

hended,  but  Aitchisoii  escaped  from  Irvine  jail.  Billy  Oak  and 
Billy  Pullans  both  absconded,  and  a  reward  of  ^10  was  offered  for 
the  apprehension  of  each  of  them.  Aitchison  was  again  apprehended, 
and  became  a  witness  for  the  Crown.  Both  Oak  and  Potts  were 
indicted  to  stand  their  trial  before  the  High  Court  of  Justiciary,  at 
Edinburgh  on  12th  July,  1797.  Oak  was  outlawed  for  not 
appearing,  and  Potts  pled  not  guilty.  The  other  Crown  witnesses 
were  John  Barr  and  his  wife  Janet  M'Lellan,  and  their  servants, 
Jean  Donaldson,  James  Rowan,  and  Joseph  Lang.  The  exculpatory 
witnesses,  whose  testimony  was  merely  on  character,  were  John 
Brown,  John  Meikle's  wife,  Thomas  Cochran,  and  Doctor  Robinson. 
The  jury  found  Potts  guilty,  and  he  was  sentenced  to  be  hanged  at 
Paisley,  on  Thursday,  17th  August,  1797.  When  in  Edinburgh 
jail,  while  under  sentence  of  death,  he  wrote  a  letter  to  his  wife ; 
another,  on  15th  July,  to  his  father  and  mother;  another  on  14th 
July;  afterwards,  two  long  letters  to  his  wife;  and  on  the  i6th 
August,  a  letter  to  a  friend.^  He  states,  in  one  of  his  letters,  that 
"  George  Aitchison  had  a  very  well  made-up  story  to  take  away  my 
life,  although  he  sent  me  a  line  before  my  trial,  saying  he  could  do 
me  no  harm  but  a  great  deal  of  good."  In  one  of  his  letters  to  his 
wife,  he  gives  eight  reasons  "  why  he  finds  his  life  accompanied 
with  very  great  mercies."  They  may  be  thus  abridged  : — ist.  All 
mankind  are  born  to  die,  and  the  difference  is  not  great  whether 
soon  or  late.  2nd,  It  appears  very  shocking  that  I  cannot  live  any 
longer  than  the  17th  day  of  August,  but  consider  how  many 
thousands  of  people  will  be  dead  before  that  time.  3rd,  Sentence 
of  death,  whether  natural  or  violent,  is  pronounced  by  the  mouth  of 
God  ;  our  only  great  concern  is  how  to  be  prepared  for  it.  4th,  If 
I  had  lived,  I  might  have  turned  desperately  wicked,  and  perhaps 
have  turned  wholly  from  God,  and  died  in  an  entire  state  of  sin. 
5th,  That  if  my  death  be  violent,  was  not  that  of  my  blessed 
Saviour  so,  too  ?  and  did  not  the  apostles  and  martyrs  finish  their 
lives  by  the  hands  of  executioners  ?  6th,  I  have  great  reason  to 
hope  that,  as  God  punishes  me  here,  He  has  reserved  no  punishment 
for  me  hereafter.  7th,  I  am  perfectly  sure  that  if  I  cast  myself  on 
God's  mercy.  He  will  accept  of  me  just  as  well  as  if  I  had  died  in 
my  bed.  8th,  I  trust  in  the  merits  of  Jesus  Christ,  that  He  has 
freed  me  from  all  these  future  torments  by  His  peace-speaking 
blood. 

The  scaffold  and  gibbet  for  the  execution  were  put  up  at  the 
Cross  of  Paisley.  Two  iron  batts  were  fixed  in  the  Cross  steeple, 
and  remained  there  till  the  steeple  was  taken  down.  The  projecting 
gibbet  stretched  out  from  the  south-east  corner  of  the  steeple,  so 
that  the  crowd  in  High  Street,  Moss  Street,  and  the  Cross,  could 
readily  see  the  execution.  The  scaffold  was  erected  within  a  few 
feet  of  the  strong  cell  in  the  steeple,  where  Potts  was  confined. 

^  These  letters,  consisting  of  15  pages,  i2mo.,  were  printed  by  J.  Neilson,  in 
that  year,  in  pamphlet  form. 


42 


HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 


Potts  was  thirty-five  years  of  age  ;  and  in  his  last  letter  to  his  fi-iend 
the  night  before  the  execution  (already  noticed),  he  stated — "  I 
declare,  as  a  dying  man,  that  I  have  not  been  guilty  of  either  murder 
or  robbery,  or  any  thing  of  that  sort."  While  confined  in  Paisley 
jail — that  is,  from  the  7th  till  the  17th  of  August— he  was  attended 
by  all  the  clergymen  in  the  town;  and  at  his  own  request,  was 
accompanied  to  the  scaffold  by  the  Rev.  William  Ferrier,  of  the 
Associate  Congregation,  Oakshaw. 

The  Council  had  considerable  difficulty  in  obtaining  payment  of 
the  expenses— amounting  to  ^33  5s.  i)^d.- — they  incurred  in 
connection  with  the  execution  of  Potts  (Council  Records,  5th 
December,  1798).  As  the  crime  was  committed  in  the  county,  and 
not  within  the  burgh,  they  naturally  applied  to  the  Commissioners 
of  Supply;  but  being  refused,  they  resolved  to  memoralise  the  Lords 
of  Justiciary  thereanent.^  On  20th  November,  in  the  following  year, 
these  expenses  being  still  unpaid,  they  agreed  "  to  petition  the 
Lord-Advocate  to  order  the  Crown  Agent  to  pay  the  expenses,  and 
pursue  the  Commissioners  of  Supply  therefor  in  case  of  refusal." 
The  Council  probably  received  payment  from  some  party,  as  the 
matter  is  not  a'^ain  referred  to  in  the  Council  records. 


Another  way  in  which  convicted   criminals  were  severely,  and 
indeed  often  cruelly  punished,  was  by  being  whipped  in  the  streets. 


^  These  expenses,  given  in  detail,  were  as  follows  : — i6th  August, 

1797- 

To  William    Pattison,  for  Wright 

Brought  foi-ivard. 

£ 

II 

12 

I 

work — • 

John  Orr,  for  Dinner- 

Going  to  Glasgow  for  infor- 

Dinner,          ■  ■■£a- 

0 

0 

mation,       ...         ...         •••;^o     2 

0 

Port,     3 

0 

0 

Robert  Fleming  carting  deals, 

0     I 

4 

Sherry,             ...     i 

12 

0 

My  own  lads  putting  up  the 

Negus, ...         ...    0 

4 

0 

scaffold,      

I     I 

10 

Punch,...         ...     I 

4 

0 

Six  labourers  assisting, 

0  10 

6 

Toddy, 0 

13 

4 

My    lads    taking    down    the 

Brandy,            ...    0 

3 

4 

scaffold, 

0  10 

0 

Gin,      ...         ...    0 

2 

8 

Drink  and  sundries,... 

0    4 

0 

Whisky,            ...    0 

2 

0 

A  large  table, 

I   15 

0 

Porter  and  Beer,    0 

12 

6 

A  crane,         

I   10 

0 

Officers,            ...    0 

17 

0 

A  coffin. 

0    7 

0 

Punch, 0 

8 

0 

Masons  putting  in  bolts. 

0    3 

0 

Gin,      ...         ...    0 

I 

4 

Ropes,           

0    5 

5 

Rum 0 

2 

8 

Hunter  and  Walkinshaw   for 

Whisky,            ...    0 

2 

0 

wood,  62  planks, 

II  10 

7 

Porter  and  Beer,    0 

4 

0 

James  Duncan,  for  iron  work 
for  gallows, 

T  1 

s 

10 

2    6 

I 

James  Bain,  a  chaise  hire. 

'j 

John  Motherwell,  for  nails, . . . 

0    9 

7 

for  execution,    ... 

I 

7 

6 

Paid  making  dead  clothes. 

c 

13 

0 

i 

20  15 

4 

Paid  executioner  and  assis- 

tants,       

4 

4 

0 

Cash  received  for  the  planks. 

John  Currie,  for  entertain- 

after execution,      

9    3 

3 

ment    to  hangman   and 

assistants, 

I 

14 

3 

Hemp  rope. 

0 

5 

S% 

Carried  fonoard,        £ 

II  12 

I 

;^33 

5 

^% 

175°  TiLi,  1800.  43 

The  crimes  so  punished  were  frequently  of  no  great  moment,  and 
this  makes  the  mode  of  punishment  all  the  more  revolting  to  us. 
Such  sights  indeed  must  have  been  most  demoralising  in  their  effects 
on  the  inhabitants.  Convicted  females,  too,  had  to  sufifer  the  same 
brutal  treatment. 

In  1765,  James  Moody,  innkeeper  in  Smithhills,  Paisley,  was 
summoned  before  the  Sheriff  Court  at  Paisley  by  Robert  Ewing, 
in  Auchingraith,  for  a  debt  of  ^8,  due  by  a  bill.  Moody  denied 
that  he  owed  more  than  ^4,  and  alleged  that  the  bill  had  been 
fraudulently  obtained  from  him  when  intoxicated.  Proof  was  taken, 
and  to  get  rid  of  what  was  clearly  a  just  debt,  Moody  bribed  several 
persons  to  give  false  evidence  for  him.  To  one  witness  he  gave  ten 
shillings,  and  promised  more  if  he  succeeded  in  his  suit ;  and  to 
another  he  promised  the  use,  free  of  hire,  of  a  horse.  He  thus 
committed  "the  crime,  subornation  of  perjury,  aggravated  by  being 
habit-and-repute  a  suborner  of  witnesses,"  and  was  tried  at  Paisley 
on  the  25th  March  of  that  year,  before  the  Sheriff  and  a  jury,  at  the 
instance  of  James  Wilson,  Procurator-Fiscal  of  Court.  The  jury, 
after  a  lengthened  trial,  "  found  the  panel  guilty  of  the  crime  of 
subornation  of  perjury  charged  against  him  in  the  criminal  letters ; 
but  found  the  last  part  of  the  said  criminal  letters,  respecting  the 
panneFs  being  habit-and-repute  a  suborner  of  witnesses,  not 
proven."  The  sentence  by  Sheriff  M'Dowall  was  that  he  should  be 
"  carried  to  the  Tollbooth  of  Paisley,  and  remain  therein  till  the 
second  Thursday  of  May  next  to  come;  to  have  his  body  then 
stripped  naked  to  the  middle,  and  his  hands  tied  behind  his  back, 
and  to  be  then  carried  with  a  rope  round  his  neck  furth  of  the  said 
Tollbooth,  betwixt  the  hours  of  ten  in  the  forenoon  and  two  after- 
noon, and  so  to  be  led  by  the  common  hangman  from  the  prison  of 
Paisley  to  the  Townhead  of  said  burgh,  and  there  to  receive  on  his 
naked  back  twenty-five  lashes  from  the  common  hangman  ;  from 
thence  to  be  carried  down  to  the  head  of  New  Street,  and  there  to 
receive  on  his  naked  back  twenty-five  lashes  more  by  the  hands 
of  the  said  common  hangman  ;  from  thence  to  be  carried  to  the 
foot  of  New  Street,  and  there  to  receive  twenty-five  more  lashes 
by  the  hands  of  the  said  common  hangman  ;  and  from  thence 
to  be  carried  down  the  Causeyside  Street,  and  up  St.  Mirin's 
Wynd,  to'ijthe  Cross  of  Paisley,  and  there  to  receive  twenty-five 
more  lashes  on  his  naked  back  by  the  hands  of  the  common 
hangman ;  and  thereafter  ordain  the  said  panel  to  be  carried 
back  to  the  said  Tollbooth  of  Paisley,  and  detained  therein  for 
the  space  of  five  months  from  and  after  the  said  day ;  and, 
after  expiry  of  said  space,  decerns  and  adjudges  the  said  James 
Moody,  panel,  to  perpetual  banishment  furth  of  the  said  shire  of 
Renfrew,  and  never  again  to  return  thereto  ;  ordains  him  to  be 
carried  to  the  confynes  of  this  shire  by  the  officer  of  this  court, 
and  then  to  be  turned  out  of  it,  with  certification  that,  if  he 
return  to  the  said  shire,  he  shall  be  immediately  apprehended  and 
imprisoned  in  the  foresaid  Tollbooth  of  Paisley  for  the  space  of  five 


44  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

months,  and  whipped  by  the  hands  of  the  common  hangman  as  for- 
merly, through  the  town  of  Paisley,  the  first  Thursday  after  he  shall 
be  so  apprehended  ;  and  ordains  him  to  be  so  whipped  accordingly, 
and  thereafter  confined  in  prison  for  the  space  of  six  months  ;  and 
ordains  this  like  punishment  in  all  and  every  part  to  be  inflicted 
upon  the  panel  so  often  as  he  shall  return  to  the  said  shire  and  be 
found  therein.     And  which  is  pronounced  for  doom." 

The  punishment  in  the  case  of  Peter  Bishop,  hosier  in  Paisley,  in 
the  following  year,  was  somewhat  milder.  At  his  trial,  on  19th 
December,  1766,  the  jury,  after  a  long  trial,  found  him  "guilty  of 
stealing  or  resetting  ten  bobbins,  one  spindle  of  thread,  and  four  of 
thread,"  and  Sheriff  M'Dowall  sentenced  him  "  to  lye  in  the  prison 
of  Paisley  till  Thursday,  the  29th  day  of  January,  1767,  and  in  the 
forenoon  of  that  day  to  be  delivered  over  to  the  officers  of  court, 
who  are  to  cause  the  said  Peter  Bishop,  at  twelve  o'clock  at  noon 
on  said  day,  to  be  carried  through  the  streets  of  the  town  of  Paisley 
bareheaded,  his  hands  tyed  behind  his  back,  and  a  rope  round  his 
neck,  with  part  of  the  goods  stolen  or  resetted  by  him,  the  hangman 
holding  the  ends  of  the  rope,  and  a  drum  beating ;  and  thereafter 
to  be  carried  back  to  the  prison  of  Paisley  •  and  decerns  and 
adjudges  the  said  panel  to  be  thereafter  banished  and  transported 
to  any  one  of  His  Majesty's  coloneys  or  plantations  in  America  for 
the  space  of  fourteen  years,  and  to  remain  in  the  said  ToUbooth  of 
Paisley  until  an  opportunity  off"er  for  his  transportation  ;  with  certi- 
fication that  if  the  said  panel  shall  return  from  transportation  within 
the  foresaid  term  of  fourteen  years,  that  he  shall  be  apprehended 
and  imprisoned  within  the  Tollbooth  of  Paisley  for  the  space  of  six 
months,  and  whipt  by  the  hands  of  the  common  hangman  through 
the  town  of  Paisley,  receiving  twenty  lashes  on  his  naked  back  at 
each  of  five  different  stations,  and  thereafter  to  be  carried  back  to 
the  said  Tollbooth  of  Paisley,  and  continue  therein  until  the  said  six 
months  shall  be  expired  ;  and  thereafter  until  an  opportunity  offers 
for  his  being  re-transported." 

The  following  case  of  Jean  Montgomery  is  one  of  the  most 
inhuman  that  could  be  met  with.  On  23rd  February,  1770,  Jean 
Montgomery,  wife  of  John  Storie,  weaver  in  Paisley,  was  tried 
before  a  jury,  who,  "by  a  plurality  of  voices,  find  the  panel  guilty 
of  resetting  the  piece  of  plain  lawn  mentioned  in  the  libel,  knowing 
it  to  be  stolen,  but  that  the  value  thereof  is  under  ten  shillings  stg.; 
and  unanimously  find  proven  that  the  panel  has  for  several  years 
been  habit-and-repute  a  resetter  of  stolen  goods,  and  an  enticer  of 
children  and  servants  to  steal  from  their  parents  and  masters." 
The  sentence  of  the  Sheriff  was,  "  that  she  should  be  carried  back 
to  the  Tollbooth  of  Paisley,  and  to  remain  therein  to  the  second 
Thursday  of  April  next ;  to  have  her  body  then  stripped  naked  to 
the  middle  and  her  hands  tyed  behind  her  back,  and  to  be  then 
carried  furth  of  the  said  Tollbooth,  betwixt  the  hours  of  ten  in  the 
forenoon  and  two  in  the  afternoon,  and  so  to  be  led  by  the  common 
hangman,  and  receive  on  the  naked  back  ten  lashes  at  the  head  of 


175°   TILL    1800.  45 

New  Street,  at  the  foot  of  New  Street,  and  at  the  Cross,  by  the 
hands  of  the  said  common  hangman  ;^  and  thereafter  ordains  the 
said  Jean  Montgomery,  panel,  to  perpetual  banishment  furth  of 
the  said  shire  of  Renfrew,  and  never  again  to  return  thereto  ; 
ordains  her  to  be  carried  to  the  confines  of  this  shire  by  the  officers 
of  Court,  and  then  to  be  turned  out,  with  certification  that,  if  she 
return  to  the  said  shire,  she  shall  be  immediately  apprehended  and 
imprisoned  in  the  foresaid  Tollbooth  of  Paisley  for  the  space  of  one 
month,  and  whipped  by  the  hands  of  the  common  hangman,  as 
formerly,  through  the  town  of  Paisley,  upon  the  first  Thursday  after 
the  expiration  of  the  said  space  of  one  month  after  she  shall  be  so 
apprehended ;  and  ordains  her  to  be  so  whipped  accordingly,  and 
thereafter  to  be  confined  in  prison  for  one  month  longer;  and 
ordains  the  like  punishment  in  all  and  every  part  to  be  inflicted  on 
the  panel  so  often  as  she  shall  return  to  the  said  shire  and  be 
found  therein.     And  which  is  pronounced  for  doom."^ 

It  is  thus  little  more  than  a  century  since  the  streets  of  Paisley 
were  disgraced  by  such  atrocious  proceedings ;  and  yet  it  was  by 
the  law  of  the  country,  and  apparently  in  accordance  also  with  the 
feelings  of  jurymen,  that  a  married  woman  should  be  punished  in 
this  brutal  manner. 

The  stealing  of  silk  from  the  manufacturers  by  their  servants 
prevailed  to  a  considerable  extent.  A  small  quantity  of  it,  although 
of  considerable  value,  could  be  easily  concealed,  and  detection 
therefore  was  very  diflicult.  Tlie  administration  of  the  law  against 
those  who  bought,  or  rather  resetted,  this  silk  from  the  thief  was 
particularly  severe.  On  9th  August,  1781,  John  Craig,  late 
"  changekeeper "  at  Quarreltown,  was  tried  before  the  Sheriff- 
Depute  and  a  jury  for  stealing  or  resetting  stolen  silk,  aggravated 
with  the  circumstance  of  being  habit-and-repute.  After  a  tedious 
trial,  the  jury  found  him  guilty,  and  the  Sheriff  sentenced  him  to  be 
recommitted  to  prison  till  6th  September  next,  and  then  to  be 
brought  forth  to  the  pillory,  there  to  stand  for  a  full  hour,  with  a 
label  on  his  breast  having  these  words,  written  in  large  characters, 
"  Infamous  Resetter  of  Stolen  Silk,"  and  the  day  following  to  be 

^  A  difficulty  arose  in  carrying  the  sentence  into  execution  from  the  want  of 
a  "  whippie,"  none  being  nearer  than  Ayr  or  Stirling.  An  application  was  made 
to  the  ''  Paisley  Society  for  the  Reformation  of  Manners"  for  funds  to  engage  a 
"  whippie,"  and  they  allowed  three  guineas  toward  the  ?,z.ixiq  ( Records  of  that 
Society). 

^  "  The  jury  were  not  unanimous  in  finding  the  panel  guilty  of  reset  as  libelled, 
but  they  unanimously  found  her  guilty  of  being  habit-and-repute  a  resetter, 
although  there  was  no  previous  conviction  or  proof  of  any  such  crime  put  before 
them.  It  does,  however,  appear  from  the  evidence  that  some  of  her  neighbours 
had  a  bad  opinion  of  her,  and  on  their  hearsay  and  most  unsatisfactory  evidence, 
she  was  held  to  be  guilty  of  being  '  a  reputed  resetter  and  enticer  of  children 
and  servants  to  steal.'  What  is  really  proved  is  her  having  had  in  her 
possession  a  cut  of  a  piece  of  lawn  that  had  been  stolen  ;  but  this  was  found  at 
the  foot  of  a  stair  by  a  constable,  who  swore  that  it  had  been  dropped  there  by 
the  panel"  (Judicial  Records  of  Renfrnushire,  by  IV.  Hector,  vol.  i.,  p.  254). 


46  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

perpetually  banished  the  county  of  Renfrew.  Three  years  after- 
wards, there  was  a  case  somewhat  similar.  On  loth  June,  1784, 
John  Burd,  Paisley,  was  charged  with  having  resetted  twenty 
bobbins  of  silk.  He  solicited  an  apprentice  to  embezzle  the  silk 
from  his  master,  for  the  purpose  of  making  silk  stockings  with  it. 
The  Magistrate  sentenced  Burd  to  stand  on  the  Tollbooth  stairhead 
for  one  hour  bareheaded,  with  three  silk  bobbins  round  his  neck, 
and  a  label  on  his  breast  bearing  "  For  Reset  of  Stolen  Silk,"  and 
afterwards  banished  the  town  and  liberties  for  three  years. 

It  was  on  this  same  stairhead  of  the  Tollbooth  that  Alexander 
Wilson,  poet  and  ornithologist,  and  one  of  our  most  illustrious 
townsmen,  had,  by  a  sentence  of  the  Sheriff,  to  burn  on  the  6th 
February,  1793,  at  eleven  o'clock  forenoon,  before  the  public,  one 
of  his  own  poetical  effusions.  To  aid  the  weavers  of  Paisley  in  a 
dispute  between  them  and  the  manufacturers,  he  wrote  a  satire, 
entitled,  "  The  Shark,  or  Lang  Mills  Detected."  If  he  had  stopped 
there,  little  harm  would  have  been  done  ;  but  in  an  evil  hour  he  sent 
in  manuscript  to  the  gentleman  against  whom  it  was  written  a  copy 
of  the  poem,  with  an  offer  to  suppress  it  if  paid  five  guineas.  This 
subjected  him  to  a  prosecution  before  the  Sheriff,  which  resulted  in 
his  punishment  as  already  mentioned. 

The  Councillors  who  were  chosen  to  fill  the  important  office  of 
treasurer  did  not  record  their  money  transactions  in  a  book,  to  be 
transmitted  from  one  treasurer  to  another,  but  only  apparently  on 
loose  sheets  of  paper,  which,  after  being  examined  and  docqueted 
by  the  committee  of  Council  appointed  for  that  purpose,  were 
generally  retained  by  them.  For  this  reason,  the  receipts  and 
disbursements  of  the  Council  cannot  be  regularly  given  prior  to 
1800.  The  following  certified  copy  of  the  income  and  expenditure 
of  the  Council  for  1753  will  therefore  be  found  to  be  somewhat 
interesting: — 

State  of  the  Town's  Revenues,  1753. 
D''-  Town  of  Paisley. 

To  interests  of  ;;^5oo  stg.  due  W""-  M'Dowall,     ... 

„         „  1000     o     o     James  Milliken,    ... 

,,         „  230     o     o     Messrs.  Shields,    ... 

„         ,,  140     o     o     James  Storie,  mer'' 

,,         ,,  120     o     o     Heirs  of  J^-  Gibb, 

„         „  80     o     o     Rob^-  Fulton,  mer'" 

„         ,,  254     o     o     New  Bank  of  Glasgc 

„         „  100     o     o     John  Smith,  mer'> 

,,         ,,  30  17     6     Robert  Menzies,  ... 

„         „  ^ZZZ     6     8     Owing  upon  the  Es- 
tate of  Ferguslie, 


;^2  2 

10 

0 

47 

10 

0 

II 

10 

0 

7 

0 

0 

6 

0 

0 

4 

0 

0 

w,  12 

14 

0 

5 

0 

0 

I 

10 

^0% 

de 

13 

4 

^3788     4     2  Carried  forward,  j[i^^A     ^     2}4 


175°  TILL  1800.  47 

Brought  fomiard,  ...         ...         ...^(^184     8     2)4 

To   Peter  Scott,  Minister,  his   stipend  and  house 

rent, 65   11     i^ 

The  salary  payable  to  M""-  Ballingall,  Master  of 

the  Grammar  School,  and  his  house  rent,   ...        19  13     4 

The  salary  payable  to  James  Porter,  of  the  Eng- 
lish School,    ...  ...  ...  ...  ...         511     lyi 

The  salary  payable  to  the  Master  of  the  English 

School,  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  113     4 

The   salary   payable   to   the  town's    Master   of 

Works,  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...         700 

The  salary  payable  to  the  Clerk,  Treasurer,  and 

Fiscal,  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  117     6 

The  salary  payable  to  the  three  Magistrates,    ...         6   13     4 

The  salary  payable  to  Gavin  Skeoch,  for  keeping 

the  town's  clocks,     ...  ...  ...  ...         300 

Salary  payable  to  6  pensioners  in  the  Hos- 
pital,          19  17     9^3 

Salary  payable  to  W"^  Gordon,  town  drummer,  500 

Teind  payable  by  the  town  to  the  two  Abbey 

Ministers  in  Abbey  Church,  ...  ...         3   t^3     4 

The  Lords  contribution  money,  payable  to  the 

Earl  of  Dundonald,  ...  ...  ...  ...         o   17     9^ 

The  yearly  cess  of  the  town's  lands,      ...  ...        12   10     6^ 

,,         ,,      of  Ferguslie  lands,       ...  ...  i   10     2 

The  feu-duty  of  the  lands  of  do.,  ...  ...  2     2     9 

A  boll  multure  bear,  do.,  to  the  Seedhill 

Miln,  0150 

Communion  elements  at  the  Sacrament,  ...         418     i 

Payment  of  the  Edinburgh  newspapers  for  the 

town's  use,     ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         i     6     o 

The  clothing  of  4  town  officers,  ...         ...         624 

By  examining  the  town's  accompt  of  incidental 
charges  for  this  last  year,  1752,  it  appears 
that  the  Treasurer's  disbursements  for  small 
accounts,  such  as  candles,  coals,  trades- 
men's accompts,  and  other  incident  and 
occasional  expenses  by  the  Magistrates, 
and  as  these  expenses  seem  to  be  daily 
growing,  the  sum  appears  to  be  moderate 
commimibus  annis,     ...  ...  ...  ...        8012     9 

Upon  examining  the  Master  of  Work's  accompts 
for  the  last  four  years,  it  appears  that  upon 
an  average  the  town's  annual  expenses  for 
making  and  maintaining  their  streets,  keep- 
ing their  lands  and  inclosures  in  due  repair, 
amount  to, ZZ     3     3^4^ 

;^467   17    10 


4  8  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY, 

Contra. 
By  Interest  due  to  the  town  from  sundry  bonds  and 

bills, £i2 

„  Interest  from  the  sales  of  part  of  the  estate  of 

Ferguslie,  not  paid  up,         ...         ...         ...       75 

„  Interest  from  the  sales  of  the  lands  of  Sneddon, 
sold  and  not  paid  up, 

„  Rents  of  houses  and  shops  belonging  to  the  town, 

„  Rents  of  the  seats  in  the  church,  viz.,  in  the 
Abbey  and  town  church, 

„  The  rent  of  the  coal  pit, 

„  The  rent  of  the  meal  and  flesh  market, 

„  The  town's  customs, 

„  The  rents  of  the  town's  lands,  exclusive  of  Fer- 
gusly  lands,    ... 

„  The  rents  of  the  lands  of  Fergusly, 

„  Feu-duties  payable  to  the  town  out  of  their  sun- 
dry lands, 

„  By  balance, 


75 

17 

3V4 

56 

4 

4 

37 

19 

5 

I 

0 

0 

27 

12 

0 

20 

0 

6 

40 

0 

4/3 

76 

12 

8 

41 

16 

io}4 

3 

4 

9tV 

^467_i7_9>^ 

That  the  above  is  a  true  and  fair  state  of  the  burgh  of  Paisley  their 
annual  revenues  and  disbursements,  extracted  from  the  records  and 
accompts  of  the  said  burgh,  kept  by  me,  Town-Clerk  of  the  said 
burgh,  is  attested  at  Paisley,  the  fourteenth  day  of  March,  one 
thousand  seven  hundred  and  fifty-three  years,  by 

(Signed)  Tho,  Simpson,  C/k. 

In  1770,  when  the  Glasgow  Town  Council  applied  to  Parliament  for 
an  act  to  improve  the  river  Cyde,  they  attempted  at  the  same  time  to 
increase  the  dues  on  goods  in  vessels  going  up  and  down  the  river 
Cart.  The  Council,  believing  that  if  this  power  were  obtained,  it 
would  be  injurious  to  the  town,  acted  in  a  very  spirited  manner, 
and,  without  hesitation,  resolved  "  to  oppose  said  application,  so  far 
as  the  same  may  be  prejudicial  to  the  community,  and  appointed  a 
committee  to  conduct  .said  opposition,  and  to  draw  on  the  Treasurer 
for  the  expenses  necessary  thereto"  (Council Records,  26th  January, 
1770).  The  Glasgow  Town  Council  must  have  abandoned  their 
proposal  to  apply  for  the  increasing  of  these  dues  ;  at  least,  the 
subject  is  not  again  alluded  to. 

The  Council  in  every  way  manifested  their  anxiety  to  have  the 
navigation  of  the  river  improved,  but  the  great  barrier  in  the  way  was 
the  want  of  funds.  On  21st  August,  1763,  they  agreed  to  purchase 
and  fit  up  a  crane  at  the  quay.  The  Glasgow  Town  Council, 
by  their  operations  in  the  improvement  of  the  navigation  of  the 
Clyde,  and  the  building  of  stone  jetties  at  the  mouth  of  the  Cart, 
caused  a  raised  bank  to  be  formed,  and  had  thereby  rendered  the 
water  at  that  part  "considerably  shallower  than  it  was  formerly,  and 


175°    TILL    1800.  4^ 

had  in  a  great  measure  hurt  and  obstructed  the  passage  of  vessels 
on  the  Cart."  A  representation  and  complaint  regarding  this 
injury  was  made  to  the  Corporation  of  Glasgow,  who  caused  their 
overseer  of  the  river  to  examine  the  mouth  of  Inchinnan  water,  and 
to  report  as  to  its  condition.  He  did  so,  and  reported  "  that  there 
would  be  a  necessity  of  erecting  three  jettees  on  each  side  of  the 
river  Cart,  which  would  undoubtedly  remove  any  sand  or  mud  that 
has  settled  in  that  part  of  the  water,"  and  stated  that  the  expense  of 
forming  these  jettees  would  amount  to  £iZ9  ^s.,  or  thereby.  The 
Council  ultimately  accepted  ;^i5o  from  the  Glasgow  Council  in 
full  of  all  claims,  to  enable  them  to  follow  out  their  own  plan  of 
deepening  the  mouth  of  the  Cart  and  restoring  it  to  its  ancient 
siaXQ  ( Coimcil  Jiccords,  loth  April,  1784).  The  Council  afterwards 
gave  ^5  5s.  to  Mr.  Bennet,  overseer  on  the  Clyde,  "  for  his  pains 
and  trouble  in  drawing  plans  of  the  river  Cart  and  suggesting  a 
method  how  the  mouth  of  the  river  could  be  cleaned  so  as  not  to 
hurt  the  property  of  Mr.  Campbell  of  Blythswood  ;"  and  the  balance 
of  the  money  received  was  to  form  no  part  of  the  town's  revenue, 
but  to  be  applied  to  the  purposes  for  which  it  was  obtained  (Council 
Records,  6th  August,  1784). 

The  first  serious  movement  that  was  made  by  the  Council  for  the 
improvement  of  the  navigation  of  the  river  was  on  29th  November, 
1786,  when  the  Magistrates  laid  before  them  "a  plan  and  profile 
of  the  river  Cart,  from  Paisley  to  its  junction  with  the  Clyde 
below  Inchinnan,  drawn  by  Mr.  Robert  Whitworth,"  along  with  an 
estimate  of  the  expense  that  it  will  take  to  deepen  the  river. 
"  The  Council  having  deliberated  on  the  affair,  they  approved  of 
deepening  the  river,  and  following  out  every  preparatory  step  for 
that  purpose ;  and  for  that  end  appointed  the  present  Magistrates, 
together  with  Messrs.  Charles  Maxwell,  Andrew  Brown,  James 
Wilson,  John  Cochran,  and  Andrew  Smith,  as  a  committee."  Mr. 
Whitworth's  recommendations,  contained  in  his  report  of  23rd 
November,  1786,  were  mainly  to  form  a  canal,  so  as  to  avoid  the 
shallow  water  at  Inchinnan  Bridge,  and  the  bridge  itself,  and  to 
construct  a  drawbridge  twenty-four  feet  wide  over  this  canal,  on  the 
line  of  the  road  leading  from  Glasgow  to  Greenock.  Several  low 
stone  jettees  were  also  to  be  raised  in  the  wide  part  of  the  river 
below  Knock  Ford  and  below  the  lower  end  of  the  proposed  canal, 
at  different  parts  of  the  river.  He  stated  in  his  report  that  "  the 
method  of  deepening  the  shallow  parts  of  the  river  must  be  by 
dragging  in  the  manner  that  was  done  upon  the  Clyde  ;  or  by 
ballasting,  that  is,  by  cutting  up  the  bed  of  the  river  with  a  ballast 
machine  and  taking  it  into  a  barge.  The  last  is  the  method  I  have 
practised  upon  the  river  Thames  for  many  years  with  great  success. 
These  machines  will  cut  up  the  hardest  gravel,  clay,  &c."  Mr. 
Whitworth  also  recommended  a  towing-path  to  be  formed.  His 
"  estimate  of  the  expense  of  improving  the  navigation  of  the  river 
Cart  from  Paisley  to  the  river  Clyde,  by  deepening  the  bed  of  it,  so 
as  to  obtain  seven  feet  depth  of  water  in  an  ordinary  spring  tide,  as 


50  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

represented  upon  the  profile,  and  making  a  new  cut  and  drawbridge 
to  pass  Inchinnan  Bridge  and  the  shoals  below,"  was  as  follows  : — 
Digging  8200  cubic  yards  in  making  proposed  cut,  at  2^d.  per 
yard,  ;^85  8s.  4d.;  digging  or  ballasting,  or  both,  of  7700  yards 
below  low  water  mark,  including  the  digging  the  foundation  of  the 
drawbridge,  at  6d.  per  yard,  ^192  los.  od.;  five  acres  of  land  for 
said  cut  and  bank,  at  ;?^2o  per  acre,  ;^ioo ;  about  4  roods  of  ruble 
masonry,  to  secure  upper  end  of  cut,  at  ;£^  per  rood,  ;!^2o ; 
making  a  drawbridge,  the  side  walls  of  which  to  stand  on  an 
inverted  arch,  ^^470  ;  ballasting  to  cut  out  the  shoals  to  the  depth 
of  the  line  G.H.I.R.  in  the  profile,  25,000  tons,  exclusive  of  the 
rock  at  R.  and  the  stoney  ground  at  S.,  at  4d.  per  ton,  ;^4i6  13s.  4d.; 
cutting  the  rock  at  R.  and  large  stones  at  S.,  ;!^ioo ;  jettees,  300 
yards,  at  8s.  per  nmning  yard,  ^120;  forming  a  foot  towing-path 
on  east  side  of  the  river,  4  feet  wide,  3^  miles,  at  2d.  per  yard 
running,  ^^51  6s.  8d. ;  two  acres  of  land  for  towing-path,  ;!{^4o ; 
ballast -barges  and  machines,  ropes,  tackle,  wheel-barrows,  planks, 
&c.,  20  per  cent,  upon  the  whole,  ^^o^  3s.  8d;  in  all,  the  moderate 
sum  of;^i9oi  2S.  od. 

The  plan  supplied  by  Mr.  Whitworth  is  a  complete  view  of  the 
Cart  from  Paisley  to  the  river  Clyde,  along  with  a  longitudinal 
section  and  several  cross  sections  of  the  river.  It  is  highly 
interesting,  and  as  it  gives  the  first  exact  and  full  view  of  the  river 
Cart  and  its  banks,  we  give  a  copy  of  it. 

On  the  22nd  December  following,  the  Council  agreed  "that  the 
river  shall  be  deepened  by  a  tonnage  laid  on  vessels  and  goods 
navigating  the  river,  but  that  such  shall  not  exceed  tonnage  up  to 
Glasgow."  A  bill  to  Parliament  was  prepared  and  approved  of, 
and  submitted  to  the  Lord- Advocate  ( Council  Records^  ^th  Jajiuary, 
^7^7-)  On  7th  February  following,  the  Council  signed  a  petition 
to  the  House  of  Commons  for  leave  to  bring  in  a  bill  into  Parlia- 
ment for  deepening  the  river,  "  and  to  transmit  the  same,  along 
with  a  copy  of  the  bill,  to  Mr.  Seton,  their  solicitor."  He  was 
also  desired  to  "  lay  the  whole  before  Lord  Abercorn  for  his  advice, 
and  if  his  Lordship  shall  signify  that  he  will  be  against  the  bill,  then 
he  is  not  to  present  the  petition  to  the  House  of  Commons."  On 
13th  March  following,  "the  Council  voted  BaiUe  Carlile  to  go  to 
London  to  support  the  bill."  The  Act  was  accordingly  obtaine»i  ; 
and  on  the  8th  June  in  that  year,  "  the  Council  unanimously  agreed 
to  and  voted  their  thanks  to  the  Earl  of  Abercorn,  John  James 
Hamilton,  the  Lord  Advocate  of  Scotland,  and  John  Shaw  Stewart 
(the  County  Member),  for  their  friendship  and  zeal  in  supporting 
the  bill  in  Parliament."  The  Act,  as  stated  in  the  title,  was  for 
"  enabling  the  Magistrates  and  Town  Council  of  Paisley  to  improve 
the  navigation  of  the  river  Cart,  and  to  make  a  navigable  cut  or 
canal  across  the  turnpike  road  leading  from  Glasgow  to  Greenock;" 
and  the  preamble  states  that  the  river  Cart  "  is  at  present  navigable 
only  for  small  boats  in  floods  or  spring  tides,  and  even  then  with 
much  difficulty."     The  Council  were  empowered  by  the  Act  "  to 


5  ITU  -1    LONGS  3 


1750   TILL    1800.  51 

make  and  keep  the  river  navigable  in  ordinary  spring  tides  for 
vessels  drawing  seven  feet  of  water,"  and  to  "  erect  on  both  sides  of 
the  said  river  such  and  so  many  jettees,  banks,  walls,  sluices,  works 
and  fences  for  making,  securing,  keeping,  and  maintaining  the 
channel  of  the  said  river  within  proper  bounds  ;  to  build  wharfs  and 
quays,  and  to  form  the  canal  already  mentioned  seven  feet  deep, 
fifty-four  wide  at  the  top,  and  twenty-four  wide  at  the  bottom,"  and 
to  construct  a  drawbridge  over  it.  The  Council  were  empowered 
to  borrow  money  to  the  extent  of  ;^3ooo  for  executing  these  works, 
and  to  levy  an  impost  of  eightpence  per  ton  on  merchandise  and 
fivepence  per  ton  on  coal  carried  on  the  river.  Goods  carried  no 
further  than  the  Knock  Ford  were  to  be  charged  the  half  of  these 
dues  ;  and  manure,  lime,  and  marl  for  lands  within  five  miles  of  the 
river  to  be  exempted. 

On  26th  of  this  month,  the  Council  appointed  a  committee,  whom 
they  called  the  Water  Committee,  "  for  conducting  the  cleaning  and 
deepening  of  the  river  ;  but  before  making  any  contracts  of  conse- 
quence, they  were  to  take  the  minds  of  the  Council.  On  the  17th 
August  following,  the  committee,  after  advertising  for  contractors, 
laid  before  the  Council  two  ofters  to  cut  the  canal,  and  the  preference 
was  given  to  the  one  given  in  by  Charles  Hopkins.  This  necessary 
and  important  contract,  we  learn  afterwards,  cost  ^458  2s.  2d.  At 
the  same  meeting,  the  committee  reported  that  "  Mr.  Douglas,  of 
Mains,  had  appointed  Mr.  Haiston,  of  Jordanhill,  as  his  arbiter,  to 
value  the  damage  done  by  digging  the  canal  through  Col.  Camp- 
bell's lands,  and  for  towing  path,  &c."  The  Council  were  dissatisfied 
with  the  choice  made  by  Mr.  Douglas,  and  named  Mr.  Robert 
Corse  on  their  part.  On  1 5th  September  thereafter,  the  Council 
"  agreed  to  employ  Alex.  Bissland,  wright.  Paisley,  to  build  and 
make  the  draw  arch,  both  mason  and  timber  work,  over  the  intended 
canal  at  Inchinan  bridge,  agreeable  to  a  proposal  and  offer  made 
by  him."  The  price  of  this  bridge  amounted  to  ;^4io.  The 
Council  thus  showed  great  energy  and  zeal  in  making  the  two 
principal  contracts  within  three  months  after  obtaining  the  Act  of 
Parliament.  At  the  same  meeting,  the  Council  agreed  to  employ 
Mr.  Bennet  to  build  a  jettee  in  Inchinnan  water,  agreeably  to  a  plan 
prepared  by  Mr.  Whitworth.  In  entering  into  these  contracts, 
money  was  required ;  and  the  Council,  on  1 8th  October,  agreed 
"to  take  out  a  cash  account  from  the  Paisley  Bank  for  ^1000  ;" 
and  on  14th  January,  1788,  the  Magistrates  reported  that  they  had 
agreed  with  John  M'Kechnie,  Greenock,  to  build  two  vessels  or 
ballast  barges.  On  i6th  August,  in  that  year,  the  Council  agreed 
with  a  person  "  to  attend  to  the  draw-bridge  till  about  the  new  year, 
and  to  give  him  one  shilling  per  day  for  his  trouble."  On  3rd 
November  in  this  year,  a  letter  from  Mr.  Whitworth  was  laid  before 
the  Council,  pointing  out  the  method  of  improving  the  foot  of 
the  canal  towards  Colin's  Island,  and  they  authorised  the  committee 
"  to  see  the  same  put  in  execution  as  soon  as  the  season  will  permit." 
On  22nd  April,  1789,  the  committee  agreed  "to  cut  the  river  from 


5  2  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

the  foot  of  the  canal  to  Colin's  Isle,  and  appoint  an  undertaker,  the 
same  to  be  advertised  for  in  the  Glasgow  Mercury  and  Journal." 
At  the  same  meeting,  they  agreed  "  to  erect  a  lodge  to  collect  the 
tonnage  on  the  north  end  of  Mr.  Carswell's  house,  on  the  quay,  of 
seven  feet  long  and  four  feet  wide,  or  thereby."  And  likewise  "  to 
build  a  breast  at  the  slate  quay,  of  four  feet  high  above  the  level  of 
the  water,  and  about  fifty  feet  long,  to  lay  sand  and  other  things 
on."  Efforts  were  frequently  made  to  remove  the  rock  in  the  river 
at  Merksworth  by  blasting,  but  not  with  much  success.  On  22nd 
July,  1793,  the  committee  reported  that  they  had  entered  into  an 
agreement  with  John  Henderson  to  make  the  cut  at  Merksworth, 
on  the  side  of  the  river,  52  feet  wide  and  six  feet  deep.  By  another 
agreement  with  the  same  contractor,  the  canal,  as  it  was  called,  was 
to  be  9}^  feet  deep.  It  would  appear  that  the  arbiters,  for  some 
reason  which  is  not  explained,  had  not  fixed  the  price  of  the  land 
taken  from  Mr.  Campbell  of  Blythswood,  in  connection  with  the 
formation  of  the  canal  at  Inchinnan ;  for  the  Council,  on  17th 
November,  1798,  "made  offer  to  him  of  ^^40  stg.  per  acre  for  such 
lands  as  have  been  taken  of  him  into  the  navigation."  They 
objected,  however,  to  pay  any  damages.  It  is  likely  the  offer  was 
accepted,  for  the  matter  is  not  referred  to  again.  A  proposal  was 
brought  before  the  Council,  on  25th  January,  1799,  regarding  the 
"great  advantage  to  the  navigation  of  the  river  Cart,  to  have  a  cut, 
at  the  nearest  possible  distance,  from  the  great  canal  to  the  river 
Clyde,  as  nearly  opposite  the  mouth  of  the  river  Cart  as  may  be." 
Nothing  was  done  with  this  proposal  at  that  time,  but  it  will  be  seen 
that  such  an  undertaking  was,  many  years  afterwards,  successfully 
carried  out. 

The  following  is  a  yearly  statement  of  the  revenue  received  from 
tonnage  dues  on  the  river,  from  the  passing  of  the  Act  of  Parliament 
till  the  end  of  the  century : — 


1788, 

•••  ^152  0 

0 

1794, 

•••  ^172 

0 

0 

1789, 

151  0 

0 

1795, 

149 

0 

0 

1790, 

150  0 

0 

1796, 

152 

0 

0 

1791. 

154  0 

0 

1797, 

...    165 

0 

0 

1792, 

150  0 

0 

1798, 

222 

0 

0 

^793, 

135  12 

3 

1799. 

118 

I 

7 

The  money  expended  on  the  different  river  works  under  the  Act 
of  Parliament,  including  the  cost  of  the  Act  itself,  down  to  the  end 
of  the  century,  was  ^3,804  12s.  3d.  This  does  not  include  any 
interest. 

In  the  winter  of  1784-85,  the  rivers  Clyde,  Cart,  and  other 
tributary  streams,  were  frozen  during  four  months ;  and  it  was  not 
till  the  middle  of  March  that  the  ice  broke  up.  In  London,  the 
frost  lasted  for  five  months  and  twenty-four  days — in  all,  176  days — ■ 
the  longest  continuance  of  frost  in  Britain  upon  record.  The  frost 
in  1739-40  continued  103  days. 


1750   TILL    1800.  53 

In  the  erection  of  sucli  a  great  number  of  houses  in  all  parts  of 
the  town,  as  the  rapid  increase  of  population  implies,  building 
materials  were,  of  course,  in  extensive  demand.  The  stones  were 
principally  obtained  from  Gallow-green,  the  Craigs  of  Ferguslie, 
Newtown,  Brediland,  Thrushcraig,  and  Nitshill.  The  limestone  for 
mortar  was  also  brought  from  various  places  in  the  neighbourhood 
of  the  town.  A  little  to  the  south-east  of  Stanely  Castle  there  was 
a  lime  work,  called  Stanely  Lime  Crsiig  ( JV.  Seviple''s  History,  p. 
264).  In  the  lands  of  Brediland  there  was  a  good  lime  work,  at 
which  were  two  seams  of  limestone  about  two  feet  apart,  and  each 
seam  about  two  feet  thick.  John  Parkhill,  in  his  autobiography, 
published  under  the  nom  de  pbmie  of  "  Arthur  Sneddon,"  states  that 
his  father,  about  1790,  became  the  manager  of  this  lime  work,  which 
was  situated  a  little  eastwards  from  the  head  of  the  Chain  Road.^ 
His  father  then  lived  at  Bankfoot,  a  house  a  little  east  from  the 
Chain  Bridge.-  To  the  east  of  Blackball,  on  the  lands  of  Mavisbank, 
there  was  a  lime  work,  and  the  machinery  for  working  the  pumping 
apparatus  for  removing  the  water  from  the  quarry  was  propelled  by 
a  windmill  (W.  Sempk's  History,  p.  273).  In  1795,  lime  was  sold 
at  I  OS.  per  chalder  of  16  bolls,  the  boll  containing  from  four  to  five 
Winchester  bushels  of  slacked  lime  ( IVi/son's  View  of  Renfrewshire, 
P-  273)- 

The  practice  of  pasturing  the  cows  belonging  to  the  burgesses 
upon  the  common  lands  of  the  burgh,  and  the  tending  of  them  by 
two  herds,  as  already  explained  (1596),  continued  through  the  whole 
of  the  seventeenth  century,  and  down  to  the  time  we  are  at  present 
concerned  with.  These  common  lands  were  now,  however,  from 
the  demand  for  dwelling-houses,  being  built  upon  and  enclosed,  and 
thereby  this  ancient  custom  came  to  be  altogether  stopped. 

The  two  herds  employed  by  the  Council  carried  a  large  horn, 
which  they  blew  when  collecting  the  cows  in  the  morning,  and  like- 
wise to  let  the  owners  know  when  they  were  bringing  them  in  again 
at  the  close  of  the  day.  These  horns  were  also  used  by  the  herds 
for  the  purpose  of  collecting  a  portion  of  the  town's  customs  or 
causey  tax.  In  addition  to  the  salary  and  perquisites  which  the 
herds  received  from  the  Town  Council  and  owners  of  the  cows,  they 
were  empowered  to  lift  and  retain  the  butter  or  sour  milk  custom, 
which  was  the  full  of  this  horn  of  sour  milk,  for  every  load  that  was 
brought  into  town  by  the  farmers  who  lived  outside  the  burgh 
boundary.  The  horn  was  assumed  to  hold  a  Scotch  pint,  and  very 
frequently  the  herd  got  a  half-penny  instead  of  this  milk,  as  that 
was  the  price  at  which  the  stipulated  quantity  was  sold.  Latterly 
the  town  herds  had,  besides,  for  their  trouble,  is.  per  annum  from 

^  This  name  has  arisen  from  the  fact  that  a  chain  was  at  one  time  placed 
across  the  foot  of  this  road  where  it  joins  the  road  from  Paisley  to  Johnstone. 

^  "The  whole  of  the  hill,  from  the  head  of  Maxwelton  Brae  to  the  West  Toll, 
was  at  this  time  covered  witli  bramble  and  hazel  bushes,  hence  our  house  was 
named  Bankfoot  "  (Autobiography  of  Arthur  Sneddon, '^.  15). 


54  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY 

each  owner  of  the  cows ;  and  from  the  Town  Council,  ^5 
stg.  of  fee  and  money  to  purchase  a  plaid,  and  ^3  to  purchase  a 
bull,  which  at  the  end  of  the  season  he  was  allowed  to  sell  for  his 
own  behoof  The  charge  made  by  the  Council  was  then  3s.  for  the 
pasturage  of  each  cow.  When  this  practice  of  pasturing  the 
burgesses  cows  was  stopped,  and  the  town  herds  were  not  required, 
the  Council  continued  to  levy  a  half-penny  of  custom  on  every  cart 
of  sour  milk  brought  into  the  town.  Some  of  the  farmers  objected 
to  this;  and  in  1785,  Mr.  John  Lock,  Crookston,  and  Mr.  John 
Fleming,  Hillhead,  refused  to  pay  this  charge  upon  the  butter-milk, 
on  the  ground  that  the  town's  herds  never  had  it  in  their  power  to 
exact  any  milk,  or  money  in  lieu  of  it,  alleging  that  when  they  did 
get  any,  it  was  at  the  option  of  the  farmers.  They  accordingly 
raised  an  action  in  the  Court  of  Session,  which  was  embraced  in 
the  one  regarding  the  custom  charged  upon  potatoes,  to  be  after- 
wards referred  to.  The  judge  allowed  a  proof,  and  a  great  many 
witnesses  were  examined  on  both  sides.  It  appears  from  the 
evidence  led,  that  for  some  time  after  the  beginning  of  the  eighteenth 
century,  the  milk  was  brought  into  the  town  by  the  farmers,  "  either 
in  one  or  two  kirns,  which  were  upon  a  car,  or  in  one  or  two  barrels, 
which  were  placed  upon  a  horse's  back  ;"  ^  and  the  hornful  of  milk 
was  exacted  by  the  herd  wherever  he  found  the  milk  upon  the 
street ;  and  at  this  time  "  the  sour  milk  was  sold  to  the  inhabitants 
in  luggies,  three  of  which  made  a  lucky  Scots  pint ;  and  the  price 
of  each  luggyfull  was  two  pennies  Scots,"  ^  or  two-twelfths  of  a  penny 
sterling.  As  in  their  claim  to  be  exempted  from  paying  the  custom- 
duty  on  potatoes,  they  failed  in  this  one  also. 

About  1740,  the  culture  of  potatoes  was  commenced  in  the 
vicinity  of  Paisley,  on  an  extensive  scale,  by  one  John  Marshall, 
who  came  from  Kilsyth  about  that  time,  and  took  up  his  residence 
in  Renfrew.  Previous  to  this,  however,  they  were  reared  in  gardens 
in  Paisley  and  its  neighbourhood  ;  and  persons  who  cultivated  more 
than  they  required  brought  them  to  the  Cross  of  Paisley  for  sale. 
The  Council  then  began  to  charge  one  penny  of  custom,  or 
"  causey  tax,"  for  each  bag  of  potatoes  so  exposed.  Although  the 
tax  was  not  objected  to  at  first,  it  was  so  after  a  time  ;  and  in  1785, 
two  farmers,  John  Lock  and  John  Fleming,  already  referred  to, 
raised  an  action  in  the  Court  of  Session  to  have  it  declared  that  the 
Council  were  not  entitled  to  levy  custom  upon  potatoes,  and 
alleging  that  they  had  a  right  by  their  charters  only  to  the  "  ancient 
customs  and  tolls  of  the  burgh."  The  pursuers  challenged  at  the 
same  time  the  tax  upon  milk,  butter,  meal,  and  fresh  fish.  More- 
over, with  regard  to  the  tax  upon  potatoes,  they  undertook  that  it 
had  not  been  in  operation  for  forty  years,  which  prevented  the  right 
of  prescription.  There  were  altogether  twenty-one  witnesses 
examined  in  this  action.     They  spoke  of  the  time  when  the  culture 

^  Evidence — Law  action.  -  Ibidem. 


1750    flLL    iSoO.  55 

of  the  potato  was  commenced  in  this  district,  and  when  they  were 
first  brought  into  Paisley  for  sale ;  that  potatoes  at  first  were 
brought  "  into  the  town  only  in  pecks  and  half-pecks,  for  private 
use,  as  people  wanted  them  •"  that  "  the  quantities  exposed  at  the 
Cross  at  one  time  did  not  amount  to  above  two  pecks,  and  in  the 
course  of  the  whole  year  did  not  exceed  a  boll."  Another  witness, 
Mr.  John  King,  who  was  seventy-four  years  of  age,  "  remembered 
that,  about  forty-eight  years  since,  he  saw  potatoes  exposed  for  sale 
at  the  Cross  of  Paisley ;  and  about  that  time  he  himself  brought 
potatoes  to  the  Cross  for  sale,  and  he  continued  this  practice  now 
and  then  for  several  years.  The  potatoes  which  he  brought  into 
the  town  at  first  were  raised  by  him  in  a  yard  at  a  place  called  '  The 
Hole,'  and  the  second  and  subsequent  years  he  raised  potatoes  in 
other  places  at  '  The  Hole '  aforesaid  in  lazy  beds  ;  and  this  was 
the  manner  in  which  they  were  then  cultivated,  being  then  a  scarce 
article  in  the  country  ;  that  the  first  year  he  planted  six  pecks  of 
potatoes  in  the  yard,  which  contained  about  a  rood  of  ground,  and 
he  brought  three  or  four  bags  to  market ;  and  the  greatest  quantity 
which  he  brought  in  any  one  of  these  years  was,  he  thinks,  six  bags  ; 
that  the  potatoes  were  not  plentiful  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Paisley  ; 
and  at  the  time  above-mentioned  the  places  from  which  they  were 
brought  to  the  town  were  Stanely  Green,  Urumonyhall,  and  '  The 
Hole,'  all  in  the  Abbey  Parish  of  Paisley ;  and  from  the  first  two 
places  they  came  in  much  the  same  quantities  as  from  his  own 
place,  '  The  Hole  ;'  and  Renfrew  and  its  neighbourhood  first  sent 
in  potatoes  to  the  market  of  Paisley  in  any  considerable  quantities, 
though  potatoes  were  brought  from  other  places  in  lesser  quantities  ; 
and  that  at  the  time  first -mentioned  he  knew  that  potatoes  were 
brought  to  Paisley  in  boats  from  Kintyre."  On  5th  December, 
1789,  the  Court,  after  upwards  of  four  years'  litigation,  assoilzied 
the  Town  Conncil  from  the  conclusions  of  the  libel  of  declarator, 
and  found  the  pursuers  liable  in  expenses.  But,  in  consequence  of 
the  delay  that  arose  in  adjusting  the  expenses,  the  case  was  not 
finally  settled  till  two  years  after  this  time. 

Before  the  middle  of  the  century  there  were,  besides  numerous 
private  gardens  attached  to  dwelling-houses,  many  public  gardens 
and  orchards  ;  and  the  inhabitants  were  therefore  w^ell  supplied  with 
every  kind  of  vegetable  and  fruit.  They  were  situated  in  diff"erent 
parts  of  the  town ;  and  before  the  end  of  the  century  there  were  no 
less  than  eighteen  gardens  ( W.  Semplis  History,  p.  331).  For 
two  hours  every  forenoon,  vegetables  were  exposed  for  sale  at  the 
market  cross,  outside,  but  on  a  line  with  the  "  plain  stanes,"  and  the 
"  kail  wives,"  as  they  were  termed,  who  sold  them,  were  for  the 
most  part  protected  from  inclement  weather  by  small  tents,  gene- 
rally painted  red. 

Although  the  calling  of  the  packman  or  chapman  may  be  said  to 
be  now  extinct  in  Scotland,  yet  it  is  known  to  have  existed  for 
many  centuries.     They  are  referred  to  in  the  poem  of  "  The  Three 


56  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Tales  of  the  Three  Priests  of  Peebles,"  written  during  the  reign  of 
James  III.  Sir  James  Semple  of  Belltrees,  in  his  once-popular 
poem  of  "  The  Packman's  Paternoster,"  published  in  1669,  makes 
the  itinerant  merchant  have  a  long  discussion  with  a  priest  in  rela- 
tion to  the  abuses  of  the  Romish  religion.  The  most  prosperous 
period  of  the  chapman  was  between  the  first  quarter  of  the  last 
century  and  the  end  of  the  first  decade  in  the  current  century. 
Packmen  travelled  regularly  throughout  the  country,  and  also 
exposed  their  wares  at  the  fairs  in  the  different  towns  Some  of 
them  carried  their  goods  in  carts,  others  on  horseback, — the  goods, 
in  bales,  being  hung  on  each  side  of  the  horse  ;  and  many  travelled 
on  foot,  with  immense  packs  on  their  backs.  They  carried  almost 
every  description  of  goods,  including  Paisley  muslins,  lawns,  and 
ribbons.  They  were,  besides,  welcome  visitors  in  the  country 
districts,  for  they  were  newsmongers,  and  were  generally  hospitably 
entertained  by  those  they  visited.  Those  of  them  who  were  perse- 
vering and  energetic,  and  had  a  good  address,  were  almost  all 
prosperous,  becoming  ultimately  merchants  with  shops  of  their  own. 
Numerous  stories  are  told  about  pedlars  rising  to  eminence  in  their 
business,  but  this  was  not  the  case  with  poor  Alexander  Wilson,  the 
gifted  Paisley  poet,  who  wrote  the  poem  of  "  The  Pack,"  "  Apollo 
and  the  Pedlar,"  "  The  Loss  of  the  Pack,"  "  Epistle  to  a  Brother 
Pedlar,"  "  The  Insulted  Pedlar,"  and  his  prose  "  Journal  as  a 
Pedlar."  John  Brown,  Professor  of  Divinity  in  the  Secession 
Church,  and  author  of  the  "  Commentary  on  the  Sacred  Scrip- 
tures," "  The  Biblical  Dictionary,"  and  many  other  learned  works, 
carried  a  pack  in  his  youth. 

The  leading  industry  continued  to  be  the  weaving  of  cloth  of 
different  kinds  ;  and  the  successful  introduction  of  the  manufacture 
of  silk  gauze,  about  1760,  gave  a  great  impetus  to  the  trade  and  the 
prosperity  of  the  town.  To  Mr.  Humphrey  Fulton  belongs  the 
honour  of  introducing  this  manufacture  into  Scotland.  In  company 
with  his  two  sons,  he  carried  on  a  most  extensive  business,  and 
often  employed  in  Paisley  and  the  surrounding  villages  from  400  to 
600  looms  in  the  various  branches  of  manufacture,  and  gave  daily 
bread  to  1000  and  frequently  1500  people  (Weavers'  Magazine, 
vol.  I,  p.  45).  He  was  born  at  Midtown  of  Threapwood,  in  the 
parish  of  Beith,  on  17  th  April,  1713  (J.  Pater  son's  History  of 
County  of  Ayr,  vol.  i,  p.  265).  When  a  young  man,  he  was  a  pack- 
man ;  and  after  travelling  extensively  both  in  Scotland  and  Eng- 
land, he  first  commenced  the  manufacture  of  linen  and  lawn  goods 
in  Beith.  In  1 749  he  removed  to  Paisley,  and  conducted  the  same 
business  till  he  commenced  the  silk  manufacture.  He  died  on 
27th  May,  1779,  leaving  two  sons,  one  of  whom  bought  the  Hart- 
field  and  the  other  the  Park  estates.  The  goods  made  in  Paisley, 
and  exposed  for  sale  in  the  London  market,  were  soon  found  to  be 
of  very  superior  quality  ;  and  they  were  so  moderately  priced,  that 
one  or  two  manufacturing  firms  were  induced  to  leave  London  and 


1750    TILL    1800.  57 

open  establishments  in  Paisley.     Their  success  was  so  great,  that 
other  firms  followed  ;  and  the  trade  increased  to  such  an  extent, 
that  manufacturers  of  these  goods  soon  had  warehouses  in  London, 
Dublin,  and  other  important  towns.     Some  of  them  had  shops  even 
in  Paris  for  the  disposal  of  the  goods  they  produced  with  so  much 
skill  and  taste.      Spitalfields,   which  had  hitherto  been   the   seat 
of  the  manufacture,  was  in  a  measure  superseded  by  Paisley.     In 
1766,  a  hst  of  the  looms  in  Paisley  was  taken,  and  found  to  be  as 
follows: — Linen,   855    looms;    silk,   702   looms;    thick  work,   45 
looms;    network,    165    looms — in  all,    1767  looms  ( ^V.   Semple's 
History,  p.  324).     Seven  years  afterwards,  when  a  list  of  the  looms 
was  again  taken,  they  were  found  to  be  as  follows  : — Silk  looms, 
876  ;  ribbon  looms,  155  ;  linen  or  lawn,  557  ;  thick  goods,  66  ;  and 
empty  looms,  579 — in  all,  2233  looms.     At  this  period,  or  soon 
after,  a   large  number   of  looms   was    employed   throughout    the 
county.      The  extent  of  the  manufactures  of  Paisley  can  best  be 
judged  by  comparing  the  number  just  given  with  the  total  number 
of  looms,  including  those  in  the  neighbouring  villages,  at  subsequent 
dates,  which  may  be  stated  thus  : — 

1776.  1781. 

Silk  looms,  ...  ...  ...  ...  2500  4800 

Linen  or  lawn,         ...  ...  ...  1500  2000 


Total,  ...         ...         ...         4000  6800 

"In  1780  there  were  eighteen  manufacturing  firms  in  Paisley,  six  of 
which  belonged  to  London,  and  kept  stocks  in  their  warehouses 
there  ;  and  eight  of  the  other  twelve  had  also  warehouses  in  London  " 
(W.  Semple's  History,  p.  323). 

In  1 79 1-2,  when  the  silk  manufacture  had  declined,  and  muslin 
had  taken  the  foremost  place,  there  were  fewer  looms  engaged  in 
the  towns  and  villages  of  our  county.  Within  Renfrewshire  alone 
there  were  : — - 

In  Paisley  and  suburbs. 

In  the  parish  of  Eastwood, 

In  the  parish  of  Kilbarchan, 

In  the  parish  of  Lochwinnoch, 

In  the  parish  of  Neilston,  ... 

And  in  the  other  parishes  in  the  county,  ... 

Total, 5032       „ 

(Statistical  Account,  1793.) 

State  of  the  Silk  Gauze  for  1284. 
(W.  Carlile,  in  the  Scots  Magazine,  vol.  49,  p.  324,  No.  for  July,  1787.) 
Number  of  weavers  employed,  not  under         ...         5000 
Winders,  warpers,  clippers,  drawboys,  and  others 
necessary  in  the  various  parts  of  the  silk 
manufacture,  ...  ...  ...  ...  5000 

E  io,oco 


3602 

looms, 

470 

417 

135 

152 

256 

58  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Suppose  these  10,000  workers  at  an  average  to 
earn  5s.  per  week,  the  sum  paid  for  wages 
will  be         ^130,000 

Every  silk  loom  produces  in  value  yearly,  upon 

an  average,  ^70,  the  amount  is    ...  ...    350,000 

The  Value  of  Paisley  Manufactures  for  1784. 

Silk  gauzes,        ...          ...          ...          ...^350,000  o  o 

Lawns  and  thread  gauze,          ...          ...      164,385  16  6 

Thread,              64,800  o  o 


^579,185  16     6 
The  Number  of  People  Employed. 

Lawn  branch — Weavers,            ...         ...         ...  2400 

Spinners,              ...          ...          ...          ...          ...  7384 

Winders,  warpers,  clippers,  &c.,             ...          ...  1000 

Overseers,            ...         ...         ...         ...         ...  100 

Makers  of  machinery  and  implements,              ...  800 

Thread  spinners,  winders,  bleachers,  twiners,  &c.,  4800 

Silk  weavers,       ...         ...         ...         ...         ...  5000 

Winders,  warpers,  clippers,  &c.,            ...         ...  5000 


Total  employed,      ...         ...         ...      26,484 

The  other  goods  manufactured  in  Paisley,  such  as  plain,  striped, 
spotted,  and  figured  lawns,  bordered  handkerchiefs,  plain  and 
figured  gauze,  along  with  other  fabrics,  were  distinguished  by  great 
taste  and  superior  workmanship.  In  the  home  and  foreign  markets 
the  various  goods  thus  manufactured  in  Paisley  came  to  be  in  great 
demand,  and  the  foundations  of  extensive  businesses  were  laid. 
The  subjoined  reports  of  the  Stampmasters  to  the  Board  of  Trustees 
for  Fisheries,  at  different  periods,  will  show  the  progress  of  these 
branches  of  trade  : — 

1744,      

1748,      

1750,      

1760,      

1770,      

1780,      

1784,      

1791,      

1793,      

The  following  from  the  pen  of  Mr.  William  M'Gavin  (who  lived  in 
Paisley  about  twenty  years),  regarding  the  weaving  trade  in  the 
town  about  1789,  is  trustworthy  and  highly  interesting  : — 

"  About  this  time  silk -weaving  was  going  out  of  fashion,  and  that 
of  muslin  was  taking  its  place,  which  made  a  great  change  in  the 
circumstances,  and  eventually  in  the  state  and  character  of  the  in- 


Yards. 

Value. 

353>4o7 

..       ;^i5,886 

413,660 

23,671 

567,805 

41,710 

812,328 

54,442 

632,834 

64,547 

1,492,973 

93,347 

1,922,020 

164,385 

• — • 

82,009 

— 

58,749 

1750    TILL    1800.  59 

habitants.  The  silk  manufacture  was  engrossed  by  a  few  great 
capitahsts,  who  could  set  at  defiance  all  rivalry  by  poorer  men. 
They  were  not  under  the  necessity  of  competing  with  one  another 
to  force' the  sale  of  goods  by  underselling  and  running  the  prices 
down  to  the  lowest  rate.  The  weavers'  hours  of  labour  were  moder- 
ate, yet  they  were  so  well  paid  that  they  could  dress  like  gentlemen, 
and  many  of  them  bought  houses  vvith  their  savings.  The  raw 
material  of  the  silk  weaving  was  brought  from  foreign  parts,  and  sold 
for  cash  at  the  India  House  ;  but  cotton  yarn  was  spun  at  home  in 
immense  quantities,  and  could  be  had  in  sufificient  abundance  by 
any  man  who  could  command  five  pounds  of  money,  or  had  credit 
to  that  amount.  Thus  hundreds  became  manufacturers  of  muslin 
who  could  never  have  produced  a  web  of  silk.  The  market  became 
overstocked  with  goods.  Those  who  had  got  their  yarn  on  credit 
were  obliged  to  sell  at  an  undervalue,  or  at  whatever  they  got,  in 
order  to  pay  their  bills.  Then  the  prices  of  weaving  were  reduced 
to  the  lowest  possible  rate.  Men  were  required  to  work  longer 
hours  to  make  a  living,  which  increased  the  evil  by  bringing  forward 
an  extra  quantity  of  goods  "  (The  Posthunwiis  Works  of  Williani 
M^ Gavin,  vol.  i.,  p.  16). 

We  take  the  following  from  the  Glasgow  Mercury  newspaper,  of 
22nd  November,  1791  : — "  A  few  months  ago,  Mr.  Andrew  Wright, 
of  Paisley,  wove  a  web  of  silk,  spun  from  worms  of  his  own  rearing. 
This,  we  are  told,  is  the  first  web  of  the  kind  made  in  Britain.  Mr. 
Wright  is  decidedly  of  opinion  that  this  climate  is  extremely  favour- 
able to  the  rearing  of  the  silkworm,  and  that  the  only  obstacle  to  its 
becoming  a  valuable  branch  of  trade  is  the  scarcity  of  mulberry 
trees.  A  few  plantations  of  such  trees  would  in  time  remove  this 
obstacle." 

When  light  lawn  cloth  was  made,  many  bleachfields  came  into 
operation  in  the  town  and  surrounding  districts.  The  streams 
whose  banks  were  favoured  as  sites  for  these  were  the  Candren  and 
the  Espedair,  to  the  south  and  south-west  of  the  town.  The  water 
in  these  rivulets  was  pure,  and  was  considered  the  most  suitable  for 
the  washing  and  purifying  of  that  cloth.  There  were  about  a  dozen 
of  these  bleachfields  in  full  operation  at  this  time.  In  addition  to 
these,  there  were  eight  bleachfields  on  the  river  Cart,  between  the 
Sneddon  and  the  Saucel,  for  the  bleaching  of  thread. 

The  next  important  branch  of  industry  in  Paisley  was  the  manu- 
facture of  thread,  which  greatly  increased,  and  gave  employment  to 
many  people.  The  different  kinds  of  threads  made  at  this  time  in 
Paisley  were — Nuns,  or  ounce  thread  ;  Lisle,  or  dozen  thread  ; 
Lash  thread,  used  for  heddles  ;  flourishing  cotton,  for  embroidery  ; 
India  cotton,  for  flowering  ;  and  wave  thread.  In  1784,  the  num- 
ber of  machines  employed  in  twining  thread  was  about  120.  Each 
machine,  upon  an  average,  twined  about  2400  spindles,  making  the 
total  quantity,  288,000  ;  which,  at  the  estimated  value  of  4s.  6d. 


6o  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY, 

each  spindle,  gives  for  the  total  value  of  thread  made  annually, 
;^64,8oo  (William  Carlile,  in  the  Scots  Magazine,  vol.  xlix.,  p.  294, 
No.  for  June,  1787).  Mr.  M'Gavin's  remarks  on  this  trade  also 
will  be  found  very  instructive  : — 

"  With  the  view  of  going  into  business,  I  spent  a  few  months  with 
Mr.  Walker  and  my  brother,  to  make  myself  acquainted  with  the 
trade  of  threadmaking.  This  I  found  a  very  pleasant  business.  I 
had  a  variety  of  active  employment,  with  perfect  freedom  from 
anxiety  of  mind.  I  then  set  up  a  small  concern  in  the  thread  line, 
which  I  intended  to  pursue  for  the  remainder  of  my  life.  It  had 
been  at  one  time  the  staple  trade  of  Paisley.  Many  families  had 
been  supported,  and  some  enriched  by  it ;  but  the  tide  was  turning 
by  this  time,  and  it  was  about  to  be  superseded  by  an  article  made 
of  cotton  upon  another  principle.  After  two  years,  I  found  it  neces- 
sary to  abandon  it,  which  I  did,  with  considerable  loss.  This 
brought  me  into  debt,  though  happily  I  suffered  no  embarrassment, 
and  did  not  even  require  to  make  the  fact  known  to  the  public. 
My  worthy  friend  Mr.  Walker  paid  all  my  engagements,  and  took 
my  bill  for  the  amount,  trusting  to  my  integrity  and  future  industry 
for  payment,  which  I  effected,  with  interest,  in  about  three  years  " 
(Posthumous  Works  of  Williain  J\P Gavin,  vol.  i.,  p.  27). 

Mr.  Macdowall,  M.P.  for  the  County,  must  have  looked  after  the 
weaving  industries  of  the  town  very  carefully,  for  on  20th  August, 
1784,  "The  Magistrates  and  Council  unanimously  voted  thanks 
to  William  Macdowall,  Esq.,  Member  for  the  County,  for  the 
attention  he  paid  to  the  manufacturing  interests  in  this  place, 
by  obtaining  an  exemption  of  the  lawns  and  gauzes,  of  linen  or 
namested,  figured  or  sprigged  with  cotton,  from  the  tax  proposed. 
And  likewise  for  his  cordial  union  with  other  members  in  obtaining 
the  proposed  duty  upon  manufactured  silks  to  be  laid  upon  the  raw 
materials  ;  and  appointed  the  Magistrates  to  intimate  this  to  Mr. 
Macdowall." 

When  the  prosperity  of  the  town  was  thus  increasing  rapidly,  the 
Town  Council  bought  the  property  in  High  Street  adjoining  the 
Tollbooth  ;  and  in  1751  they  erected  a  public  inn  upon  the  site, 
which  was  first  called  the  "  'i'ovvn's  House,"  and  afterwards  "  The 
Saracen's  Head  Inn."  The  building  was  three  storeys  high,  and 
the  entry  to  it,  nine  feet  wide,  was  from  High  Street,  and  had  a 
shop  on  each  side.  In  1759  the  yearly  rent  was  ;£'^6,  and  in  1761, 
;^40.  On  6th  August,  1784,  the  Council  agreed  "  to  repair  Andrew 
Drew's  shop,  and  to  set  it  for  a  coffee-room  along  with  the  Town's 
Inn."  This  was  the  eastmost  shop,  which  was  changed  into  a 
coffee  or  reading  room,  most  likely  because  the  news-room,  already 
referred  to,  was  found  to  be  greatly  deficient  in  accommodation. 
The  reading-room  appears  to  have  been  always  kept  open  on  Sun- 
days. At  anyrate,  it  was  so  in  1789  ;  for  on  the  ist  May  in  that  year 
we  find  "  the  Council  are  of  opinion  that  Mr.  Sinclair  must  shut  up 


175°    TILL    1800.  61 

the  Coffee  Room  on  Sabbaths  during  the  time  of  divine  worship, 
and  till  it  be  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon."  In  January,  1791,  the 
Council  agreed  to  add  to  the  inn,  at  the  back,  an  assembly-hall, 
with  bedrooms  above,  and  cellarage,  along  with  a  building  for 
stabling  and  hay -loft.  In  March,  1794,  the  inn  was  let  at  ^it^o  of 
yearly  rent.  The  accommodation  in  the  Town's  House  at  this 
time,  according  to  a  notice  advertising  it  to  be  let,  consisted  of  "  a 
large  coffee-room,  a  large  ball-room,  six  large  parlours,  twelve  bed- 
rooms ;  besides  a  garret,  a  very  convenient  kitchen,  with  a  suffi- 
ciency of  cellars  and  offices,  an  excellent  stable  that  will  contain 
20  horses,  likewise  a  hay-loft."  Mr.  Sloan,  the  tenant  at  this  time, 
changed  the  name  to  the  "  Saracen's  Head  Inn,"  and  fixed  up  on 
the  front  in  High  Street  a  signboard,  with  a  portrait  on  it  represent- 
ing a  savage-looking  Saracen  holding  a  scimitar  in  one  of  his  hands. 
The  year  ending  Whitsunday,  1 79S,  was  the  last  year  of  the  coffee-room 
in  the  Town's  House, — the  annual  subscription  at  that  time  being 
i6s.,  and  the  number  of  subscribers  169.  The  following  newspapers 
were  then  received  into  the  reading-room  : — London — Sitn  (two 
copies),  Star  (two  copies),  Courier  (two  copies).  Morning  Chronicle 
(two  copies)  ;  Oracle  (Dublin),  a  daily  paper  ;  Edinburgh — Cale- 
donian Mercury,  Advertiser,  Scots  Chronicle ;  Glasgow — Advertiser, 
Courier  (two  copies),  Monthly  Review,  and  British  Critic.  Insuffi- 
cient accommodation  in  this  reading-room  caused  the  subscribers 
to  raise  a  fund  of  ^800,  in  160  shares  of  ^^5  each,  with  which  they 
bought  a  shop  at  the  Cross  in  Moss  Street,  with  a  flat  above,  which 
was  made  suitable  for  a  reading-room. 

Another  of  the  ancient  landmarks  of  the  town  was  ordered  to  be 
removed,  as  being  no  longer  required  in  its  altered  circumstances. 
On  8th  December,  1763,  the  Council  resolved  "that  the  Bridge 
Port  be  taken  down,  as  useless,  and  obstructing  the  view  betwixt 
the  town  and  Smithhills."  In  the  same  minute  it  is,  however, 
further  stated  that  this  was  done  "  at  the  request  of  Dundonald." 

The  Council,  in  consequence  of  the  great  prosperity  of  the  town 
and  increase  in  the  population,  agreed  to  carry  out  further  improve- 
ments for  the  benefit  of  the  inhabitants.  Hence  the  erection  of  a 
new  flesh-market  and  slaughter-house  ('G^/zz/r//  Records,  i8th  Feb., 
1764).  The  site  they  selected  for  this  public  building  was  "their 
own  steading  in  Moss  Row,"  and  they  purchased  a  tenement  ad- 
joining, along  with  "a  steading  in  Litsars'  Wynd"  (Dyers'  Wynd). 
On  2nd  April  following,  a  plan  of  the  new  flesh-market  and 
slaughter-house,  "  along  with  an  elevation  drawing  by  Bailie  John 
Whyte,  was  submitted  to  the  Council  and  approved  of"  The  new 
market  fronted  Moss  Street.  A  contemporary  says  it  "  is  seventy- 
two  feet  long,  has  a  genteel  front  of  cut  stone,  and  is  one  of  the 
neatest  and  most  commodious  of  the  kind  in  Britain.  It  cost  the 
community  ^1200  stg."  (Pcnnanfs  Tour  in  Scotland,  vol.  ii.,  p.  16). 
The  shambles  were  immediately  behind  the  market,  and  the  entry 


2633 

2412 

2o8l 

2978 

138 

5 

2682 

2220 

1806 

2158 

87 

I 

2488 

2IOO 

1594 

2564 

73 

I 

2601   2244   1827   2567    99 


62  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

to  them  was  from  Dyers'  Wynd.  The  following  account  of  the 
number  of  cattle,  &c.,  killed  in  this  market  at  different  periods, 
will  serve  to  give  an  idea  of  the  consumption  of  butcher- meat  in 
the  town: — 

From  September       Oxen  and 
to  September.  Cows.       Calves.       Sheep.      Lambs.       Hogs.     Goats. 

1781  -  1782,     ...     2193         2724        3318        3219  80  87^ 

1791-1792,  ... 
1792- 1793,  ... 
1793 -1794,     ••• 

Average  of  these 
three  years. 

This  does  not  include  what  may  have  been  killed  outside  the  burgh 
boundary. 

The  previous  flesh-market  was  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  same 
street ;  and,  after  the  erection  of  the  new  market,  was  converted 
into  the  tron  and  custom  booth,  where  butter,  cheese,  fish,  and 
several  other  articles  were  sold  by  the  tron  pound  of  22^  ounces. 
Above  this  custom  booth  was  the  assembly  hall,  which  was  repaired 
in  1 77 1,  and  let  for  a  dancing  school  (W.  Sonp/cs  History,  p.  318). 

The  Council  continued  to  have  four  officers  and  a  drummer. 
One  of  the  officers,  through  old  age,  became  unable  to  perform  his 
duties;  and  in  1765  the  Council  adopted  a  most  unusual,  but  at 
the  same  time  a  very  economical,  method  of  assisting  him.  On  4th 
April  of  that  year,  when  removed  from  his  situation,  the  Council 
agreed  that,  "on  account  of  his  long  and  faithful  services,  they  hereby 
burden  the  four  town  officers  with  the  payment  by  each  of  them  of 
;£\  stg.  yearly  to  the  said  W'"-  Stewart  during  his  life,  and  payable 
at  the  month  of  January  in  each  year."  The  Council  also  agreed 
to  pay  him  ^£2  yearly. 

On  30th  January,  1767,  the  Council,  "  on  the  application  of  some 
of  the  chief  inhabitants  of  the  city  of  Glasgow,  agreed  to  contribute 
^40  towards  the  expense  of  building  a  new  bridge  betwixt  the  said 
city  of  Glasgow  and  the  village  of  Gorbals,"  but  on  the  condition 
that  it  shall  "  be  a  free  and  open  bridge,  without  payment  of  pont- 
age or  any  duty  whatever."  On  nth  February,  1774,  Avhen  the 
Glasgow  Town  Council  were  "  about  to  apply  to  Parliament  for  an 
Act  to  augment  or  double  the  pontage  on  their  new  bridge,"  the 
Paisley  Town  Council  agreed  to  join  the  gentlemen  in  the  county 
in  opposing  such  an  Act  being  granted,  and  to  subscribe  money  in 
proportion  to  the  valuation  of  the  cess. 

1  The  value  of  the  cows  was  ;^5  each  ;  the  calves,  4s.  each  ;  the  sheep,  8s. 
each  ;  the  lambs,  4s.  each  ;  the  hogs,  15s.  each;  and  the  goats,  3s.  each ;— in 
whole,  ;^2588  17s.  stg.  (IV.  Scmplc's  History,  p.  318). 

-  John  Wilson  of  \\\\A\:V—Gaicrai  View  of  Ihc  Agric-icllnrc  of  KciijiLiosliire. 


175°  TILL  1800.  6;^ 

When  a  bill  was  brought  into  Parliament  in  1778  to  repeal  certain 
penalties  and  disabilities  imposed  on  the  Roman  Catholics,  a  great 
sensation  was  created  in  Scotland,  under  the  fear  that  it  was  for 
their  complete  emancipation  and  restoration  to  power.  This  sub- 
ject came  under  the  consideration  of  the  Council  in  consequence  of 
"  a  petition  from  representatives  of  the  Incorporations,  setting  forth 
that  they  and  their  constituents,  being  friends  to  the  Protestant 
interest  and  firmly  attached  to  the  present  Constitution,  are  appre- 
hensive that  an  attempt  will  soon  be  made  to  obtain  a  repeal  of  the 
statutes  against  Popery  in  this  country  :  they  therefore  intimate 
their  unanimous  resolution  to  assist  and  support  the  Magistrates 
and  Council  in  taking  such  legal  and  constitutional  steps  as  they 
shall  judge  necessary  for  preventing  the  same  taking  place  "  (Council 
Records,  30th  December,  i^tS).  There  do  not  appear  to  have 
been  any  further  manifestations  in  Paisley  in  this  direction,  but  it 
was  very  different  in  many  other  towns. ^ 

The  Kirk-Session  of  Paisley  also  objected  strongly  to  this  bill, 
and  at  a  meeting  held  in  January,  1779,  expressed  their  disappro- 
bation of  it,  "as  equally  contrary  to  religion  and  sound  policy. 
Popery  is  in  its  very  nature  destructive  of  the  best  interests  of  man- 
kind ;  its  principles  and  tenets  are  in  many  instances  directly  con- 
trary to  the  important  doctrines  of  our  holy  religion ;  and  its 
system  of  morals  subversive  of  the  foundations  of  all  civil  hberty. 
Nor  can  this  design,  if  carried  into  execution,  fail  to  alienate  from 
Government  the  affections  of  many  loyal  subjects,  who  have  always 
approved  themselves  zealous  friends  of  the  Revolution  settlement 
and  of  the  illustrious  House  of  Hanover.  Add  to  this  that  the  pro- 
posed repeal  appears  to  be  unjust  in  itself,  as  calculated  to  deprive 
both  the  nation  and  Church  of  Scotland  of  privileges  dearly  pur- 
chased by  our  ancestors,  and  unalterably  secured  to  us  by  the 
Claims  of  Right  and  Articles  of  Union  solemnly  ratified  betwixt  the 
two  nations  in  1707."  The  Abbey  Session  also,  on  nth  February, 
1779,  appointed  proper  persons  "to  collect  the  opinions  of  the 
inhabitants  of  the  parish  with  regard  to  repealing  of  the  penal 
statutes  against  Papists  in  Scotland  ;  and  after  having  heard  the 
sentiments  of  each  family  apart,  found  the  opinion  of  upwards  of 

^  In  Leitli,  on  31st  January,  1779,  a  numerous  mob  assembled  and  burned  a 
house  to  the  ground,  which,  it  was  alleged,  was  being  used  as  a  chapel  by  the 
Roman  Catholics.  Next  day,  several  other  houses  in  Edinburgh  in  which  Popish 
clergy  resided  were  destroyed. 

In  Glasgow,  a  mob  proceeded  to  a  Popish  chapel  in  High  Street,  and  after 
expelling  the  congregation,  destroyed  a  number  of  pictures  representing  the  dif- 
ferent saints  hung  around  the  altar.  The  populace  also  destroyed  the  shop  of  a 
man  of  the  Roman  Catholic  persuasion  ;  and  when  stopped  by  the  military,  they 
went  to  his  house  in  the  east  end  of  the  town,  and  burned  it  to  the  ground 
(Chronicles  of  St.  Micngo,  p.  261). 

No  place  was  more  zealous  in  opposition  to  the  Popish  Bill  of  1779  than 
Paisley.  It  was  not  without  danger  that  a  person  durst  venture  to  express  him- 
self even  with  indifference  on  the  subject.  At  this  period  not  a  Papist  was 
known  in  Paisley  (Wilson's  View  of  RenJravsJiire,  p.  260). 


64  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

looo   heritors,   heads  of  famiUes,  and  a  very  numerous   body  of 
other  inhabitants,  to  be  against  their  repeal." 

In  1 781  the  Protestant  feehng  in  the  town  was  very  strong.  The 
seventeen  Societies,  as  a  proof  of  their  enthusiasm,  collected  ;;^86, 
which  they  sent  to  Lord  George  Gordon  to  assist  in  payment  of  the 
expenses  incurred  in  pleading  the  Protestant  cause  in  London. 
Also,  on  8th  January,  1 781,  the  Incorporations  of  Weavers,  Tailors, 
Smiths,  Gardeners,  Shoemakers,  Masons,  Fleshers,  Bakers,  Malt- 
men,  Old  Journeymen  ^Veavers,  Princes  Incorporation,  Maxwelton, 
Sandholes,  Croft  Incorporations,  at  a  meeting,  resolved  "  that  it  is 
their  opinion  that  the  Protestant  interest  can  never  be  secure  so 
long  as  Popish  priests,  schoolmasters,  and  Jesuits  are  tolerated  by 
law  to  propagate  their  anti-christian  superstition  within  any  part  of 
these  united  kingdoms ;  that,  though  the  petitions  of  the  English 
Protestant  associations  were  not  attended  with  that  success  last 
session  of  Parliament  which  they  deserved,  yet  the  friends  of  the 
Protestant  ought  by  no  means  to  be  discouraged,  so  as  to  give  up 
the  glorious  cause  of  our  Religion  and  Constitution  ;  that  the  Right 
Honourable  Lord  George  Gordon  deserves  all  legal  support  and 
sympathy  under  his  present  distressing  and  critical  confinement ; 
that  he  was  neither  the  author  nor  promoter  of  the  late  horrid  riots ; 
and  that  he  will  soon  quit  the  horrid  abode  of  a  prison,  and  shine 
forth  like  the  sun  from  behind  a  dark  cloud  with  redoubled  lustre  " 
(IF.  Scmple's  History,  p.  329). 

The  Masonic  Lodges  established  in  the  town  were  the  St.  Mirin, 
on  9th  May,  1749  ;  the  Renfrew  County  Kilwinning,  on  23rd 
November,  1750  :  the  St.  James  Paisley,  in  1773  ;  and  the  Paisley 
Royal  Arch,  which  received  a  charter  of  constitution  and  erection 
from  the  Grand  Lodge  of  Scotland,  i8th  March,  1777  (W.  Sempl^s 
History,  p.  330). 

It  is  not  known  at  what  time  the  custom  was  originated  by 
the  Town  Council  of  burgesses  and  others  perambulating  the 
boundaries  of  the  burgh  annually,  on  what  was  called  Lonimer's 
Day.  It  is  an  ancient  custom,  not  only  in  this  burgh,  but  in  many 
others  in  Scotland.  The  records  of  the  Town  Council,  however, 
are  silent  regarding  its  establishment.  As  representing  the  com- 
munity, they  are  the  Superiors  of  all  the  land  within  the  burgh  ;  and 
it  certainly  is  a  proper  thing  that  a  day  should  be  set  apart  for 
perambulating  their  property,  to  see  that  none  of  the  ancient  land- 
marks showing  its  boundaries  have  been  removed  or  destroyed. 

"  It  [Lonimer]  is  a  pure  Saxon  word,  though  in  the  West  it  has  been 
corrupted  by  elision  into  Lonymer  or  Lanymer,  from  Londe-demer 
and  Lande-demer,  a  judger  and  determiner  of  land.  Deem,  and 
doom,  and  daim  are  all  from  the  same  verb,  though  in  present  use  their 
oblique  significations  are  considerably  different.  The  word  Land- 
decmcr  appears  to  have  been  indiscriminately  applied  either  to  the 


175°  TILL  iSoo.  65 

officer  on  whom  the  duty  of  riding  the  marches  devolved,  or  to 
the  upright  stone,  tree,  water,  or  whatever  else  served  to  denote  a 
boundary.  The  word  in  its  latter  signification  we  find  used  and 
spelt  "  Landymere "  in  the  famous  controversy  between  George 
Abbot  of  Paisley  and  the  burgh  of  Renfrew  anent  the  marches  of 
the  regality  of  Paisley  and  those  of  that  burgh,  which  was  settled  by 
arbitration  in  1408/'^  The  first  account  we  have  of  holding  this 
day  is  by  William  Semple,  the  historian  of  Renfrewshire  in  1781, 
and  is  as  follows  : — 

"  All  the  new-elected  Bailies,  Treasurer,  and  Councillors,  who 
never  were  elected  into  said  offices  before,  with  all  the  new-entered 
burgesses,  annually,  upon  the  second  Tuesday  of  June,  walk  round 
the  five-merk  lands  or  royalty  of  Paisley,  attended  by  the  town 
officers  and  a  great  number  of  spectators  ;  which  custom  is  called 
Landymers,  or  land  marches.  Within  the  town's  marches  are  three 
wells,  viz.,  Castlehead  Well,  Lone  Well,  and  Craig's  Well,  where 
they  are  all  stopped  and  washed  at.  While  walking  through  the 
Moss,  they  pull  a  number  of  flowers,  such  as  that  soil  produces  ;  and 
at  the  Duseing  Brae,  viz.,  at  the  north  end  of  the  Long  Lone, 
where  Paisley  horse  race  starts,-  they  are  stopped,  not  without  both 
mirth  and  terror ;  then  two  of  the  officers  take  the  person  highest 
in  office  first,  and  taking  hold  of  his  shoulders  and  legs,  then  with 
a  swing  return  his  posteriors  with  a  velocity  against  said  brae, 
which  is  called  "  douping  ;"  this  being  thrice  repeated,  the  person  is 
a  free  brother  burgess.  All  the  rest  are  served  after  the  same 
manner.  Generally,  the  first  person  so  served  assists  for  one  in 
serving  the  next.  When  this  ceremony  is  ended,  then  they  walk, 
all  in  grand  procession,  attended  by  the  ISLigistrates  with  officers, 
and  drums  beating  before  them, — being  all  ornamented  with  the 
foresaid  flowers,- — from  the  said  brae  to  the  Town  House,  and  all 
dine  together,  each  one  at  his  own  expense  "  ( JK  Scmplis  History, 
P-  311)- 

On  3rd  October,  1791,  "the  Council  enact  that  in  future  every 
person  who  enters  burgess,  and  who  dines  with  the  Council  at 
Head  Courts  or  Lonimer's  days,  shall  pay  half-a-crown  for  his  dinner 
and  drink,  and  the  like  sum  for  his  cautioner,  if  he  be  present."^ 

^  Paisley  Advaiisex,  28th  June,  1828.  The  learned  author  is  no  doubt 
William  Motherwell,  who  was  the  editor  of  the  newspaper  at  that  time. 

*  Duseing  Brae,  here  described,  is  on  the  site  of  the  cottage  called  Springbank, 
at  the  east  end  of  the  Shambles  Road,  recently  named  Springbank  Road,  on  the 
west  side  of  Love  Street.     Long  Lone  is  now  called  Love  Street. 

^  Many  of  the  burghs  in  Scotland  preserve  the  practice  of  "  riding  the  marches  " 
with  all  the  ceremony  of  former  times.  At  Lanark,  the  celebration  takes  place 
on  the  last  Wednesday  of  May,  old  style.  .A.  procession  of  boys  is  formed, 
headed  by  a  band  of  music.  The  procession  ends  at  the  "ducking  hole,"  on  the 
border  of  the  burgh  lands,  where  those  who  have  joined  the  diversions  for  the 
first  time  are  compelled  lo  wade  in  and  touch  a  stone  in  the  centre  of  the  pond. 
They  are  tumbled  over  and  drenched.  The  procession  next  marches  to  the 
plantations  of  Jerviswoode  and  Cleghorn,  where  the  youths  cut  boughs  from  the 


66  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

An  attempt  having  been  made  by  the  Government  to  make  the 
laws  relating  to  the  importation  of  grain  more  stringent,  the  Council 
were  very  zealous  in  co-operating  with  other  public  bodies  in 
attempts  to  prevent  the  proposed  change,  and  also  in  petitioning 
the  legislature  themselves.  On  20th  October,  1786,  they  appointed 
a  committee  to  correspond  with  any  public  body  in  Glasgow  and 
other  neighbouring  towns  that  agreed  to  oppose  the  proposed  laws, 
"  and  that  to  the  utmost  of  their  power." 

On  19th  October,  1786,  there  was  a  contest  between  Mr.  John 
Shaw-Stewart  of  Greenock  and  Mr.  William  Macdowall  of  Garthland, 
for  the  representation  of  the  county  in  Parliament.  On  the  day  of 
voting,  the  former  had  64  votes,  and  the  latter  44  votes.  Shortly 
afterwards,  Mr.  Stewart,  the  successful  candidate,  sent  four  hogs- 
heads of  beer  to  the  inhabitants  of  Paisley,  as  an  acknowledgment 
for  their  peaceable  behaviour  at  the  late  election,  and  ;Q2  2s.  to  the 
Town  House,  which  was  divided  among  the  poor  prisoners.  About 
the  same  time,  Mr.  Macdowall,  the  unsuccessful  candidate,  gave  the 
Magistrates  ;^io  los.,  to  be  distributed  among  the  poor  (Glasgow 
Mercury  newspaper). 

In  1788,  the  inhabitants   manifested   their  appreciation  of  the 

birch  trees,  with  which  they  proceed  through  the  streets  in  boisterous  triumph. 
They  finally  assemble  at  the  Cross,  where,  under  a  statue  reared  to  the  memory 
of  Wallace,  they  sing  "  Scots  wha  hae."  The  juvenile  celebration  terminates  at 
noon.  The  Magistrates  and  Town  Council  now  appear  at  the  Ci'oss,  attended 
by  the  town  drummer  on  horseback.  A  procession  is  formed,  which,  after 
inspecting  the  marches,  enters  the  race  ground.  There,  amidst  demonstrations 
of  merriment  from  the  assembled  multitude,  a  race  is  ran  for  a  pair  of  spurs. 
The  proceedings  terminate  in  a  banquet  in  County  Hall  (Scotland,  Social  and 
Domestic,  by  Charles  Rogers,  p.  154). 

At  Linlithgow,  the  Sovereign's  health  is  drunk  at  the  Cross.  When  the 
glasses  are  drained  off,  they  are  tossed  among  the  crowd.  A  procession  is 
formed.  The  Members  of  the  Coi^poration,  seated  in  carriages,  take  the  lead  ; 
then  follow  the  Trades,  bearing  banners.  The  farm-servants  of  the  neighbour- 
hood, mounted,  and  displaying  from  their  bonnets  a  profusion  of  ribands,  bring 
up  the  rear.  After  a  march  of  several  miles,  the  procession  returns  to  the  Cross, 
whence  the  different  bodies  proceed  to  their  favourite  taverns,  to  dedicate  the 
evening  to  social  mirth  (Scotland,  Social  and  Domestic,  by  Charles  Rogers, 
P-  154)- 

At  Dumfries,  every  first  of  October,  the  Magistrates,  Town  Council,  Incor- 
porated Trades,  and  other  burgesses,  assembled  at  the  Market  Cross  or  White 
Lands,  and  having  been  duly  marshalled,  proceeded  with  banners  and  music  along 
the  far-stretching  line  which  enclosed  the  property  of  the  burgh.  Their  course 
was  first  to  the  Castle,  then  do\ni  Friars  V^ennel,  and  along  the  Green  Sands  to 
the  Moat  at  the  head  of  the  town.  As  a  matter  of  course,  the  cavalcade  was 
accompanied  bya  crowd  of  juveniles,  who  at  this  stage  were  treated  with  a  scramble 
for  apples — the  town  officers  throwing  among  them  the  tempting  fruit.  The 
marchers  then  passed  through  the  grounds  to  the  village  of  Stoop,  at  the  race- 
course, near  which  a  race  was  engaged  in  for  a  saddle  and  pair  of  spurs.  They 
afterwards  went  to  Kelton  Well,  where,  after  being  refreshed  with  something 
stronger  than  the  produce  of  the  well,  the  roll  of  heritors  was  read  over,  and 
absentees  were  liable  to  be  fined  for  not  being  present  at  the  ceremony 
(M'Daioall's  History  of  Dumfries,  p.  307). 


175°  I'iLL  1800.  67 

benefits  wrought  by  the  Revolution  of  1688  in  a  very  demonstrative 
manner.  On  4th  November  in  that  year,  "  the  windows  of  the  more 
wealthy  part  of  the  inhabitants  were  in  the  evening  generally  illu- 
minated, and  the  utmost  cheerfulness  and  happiness  prevailed.  On 
the  thanksgiving  day,  the  churches  were  crowded,  and  the  audiences 
all  appeared  to  be  impressed  with  a  just  and  becoming  sense  of  the 
blessings  of  civil  and  religious  liberty,  which  they  enjoyed  under  a 
mild  and  just  government  to  so  much  greater  an  extent  than  their 
forefathers  before  the  accession  of  King  William  III.  to  the  throne  " 
(Glasgow  Alercury). 

On  nth  May,  1790,  the  Council  signed  a  petition  to  the  House  of 
Commons,  and  another  to  the  House  of  Lords,  "to  oppose  the  bill 
depending  relative  to  the  Corn  Laws  from  passing  into  a  law,  and  to 
employ  counsel  in  the  matter."  And  authorised  the  Magistrates 
"  to  form  resolutions  on  the  subject,  and  publish  the  same  in  the 
London,  Edinburgh,  and  Glasgow  newspapers."  On  T8th  July  in 
the  following  year,  they  agreed  to  send  to  Mr.  Macdowall,  M.P.  for 
the  county  of  Renfrew,  a  letter  of  thanks  for  his  great  attention  to 
the  business  of  the  Council  in  regard  to  the  Corn  Bill. 

In  the  wars  in  which  the  Government  were  engaged  from  time  to 
time,  the  Council  and  principal  inhabitants,  to  strengthen  the  hands 
of  the  Government,  and  to  testify  their  loyalty  and  sympathy,  gave 
bounties  to  those  inhabitants  who  volunteered  to  serve  the  country 
in  the  navy  and  army.  In  February,  1778,  they  offered  a  bounty 
of  five  guineas  to  every  able-bodied  man,  residing  in  the  town  and 
Abbey  parish,  who  shall,  betwixt  the  first  day  of  April  next,  volun- 
tarily enhst  in  any  of  His  Majesty's  regiments  of  foot,  from  the  first 
to  the  seventy-first  inclusive,  or  in  the  marine  service  ;  and  that  over 
and  above  His  Majesty's  bounty.  And  on  27th  July,  1779,  they 
authorised  the  "  Magistrates  to  offer,  by  advertising,  a  bounty,  over 
and  above  His  Majesty's  bounty,  or  any  other  bounty,  of  four 
pounds  for  every  able-bodied  seaman,  and  two  guineas  for  every 
ordinary  seaman  and  landsman,  resident  in  the  town  and  Abbey 
parish."  In  August,  1781,  the  Renfrew  County  Kilwinning  Lodge, 
from  a  desire  to  promote  His  Majesty's  service,  and  from  the 
esteem  they  had  for  Brother  Captain  William  Walkinshaw,  agreed 
to  offer  a  bounty  of  one  guinea  to  each  man  who  should,  betwixt 
and  the  loth  of  September  following,  voluntarily  enlist  to  serve  in 
his  independent  company  of  foot,  then  being  raised  by  him.  This 
bounty  was  to  be  in  addition  to  what  was  given  by  Captain  Walkin- 
shaw (Glasgow  Mercury). 

The  Revolution,  which  commenced  in  France  in  1789,  had  a 
most  pernicious  influence  over  many  individuals  of  the  working 
classes  in  this  country.  In  several  towns,  the  people  after  a  time 
became  inspired  with  revolutionary  sentiments,  and  in  1792  dis- 
turbances broke  forth  in  several  parts  of  England.     At  Sheffield,  a 


68  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

day  was  appointed  to  rejoice  over  the  success  of  the  French  revo- 
kitionary  arms  ;  and  there  were  outbreaks  at  Yarmouth  and 
Shields.  There  were  also  riots  at  Dundee,  Perth,  and  Aberdeen, 
and  military  aid  was  required  to  quell  them.  At  Dundee,  a  meeting 
Avas  held  ostensibly  regarding  the  high  price  of  meal,  but  before  it 
closed  there  were  cries  of  "  Liberty  and  Equality."'  Some  even 
called  out,  "  No  Excise,  no  King,"  and  they  concluded  with  planting 
a  Tree  of  Liberty,  according  to  the  pattern  of  France  (Life  of  Pitt, 
by  Stanhope,  vol.  ii.,  p.  175).  A  public  meeting  of  the  principal 
inhabitants  of  Paisley,  called  by  the  Magistrates,  was  held  in  the 
Court  Hall,  in  December,  1792,  to  take  into  consideration  the  state 
of  the  country,  and  passed  a  series  of  resolutions.  Those  present 
declared  their  steady  attachment  to  the  principles  of  the  British 
Constitution ;  that  any  attempt  to  overturn  or  alter  it  proceeded 
from  the  secret  enemies  of  the  country,  whom  they  held  in  abhor- 
rence ;  and  resolved  to  give  every  assistance  to  Government  in  pre- 
serving the  peace  of  the  country.  On  2 1  st  January,  1 7  93,  the  head  of 
the  dethroned  French  king,  after  a  mock  trial,  fell  beneath  the  blow  of 
the  guillotine.  And,  on  ist  February  following,  the  overstrained  peace 
relations  between  France  and  England  were  broken  up  altogether, 
by  the  former  declaring  war  against  this  country  and  Holland. 
Then  followed  that  long  series  of  bloody  and  expensive  hostihties 
in  Europe,  extending  over  a  period  of  twenty-two  years. 

In  some  parts  of  Scotland  the  popular  revolutionary  feeling  took 
a  firm  hold.  A  meeting  of  delegates  from  all  parts  of  Scotland  was 
held  in  J^dinburgh,  adopting,  in  imitation  of  the  French,  the  name 
of  a  convention,  and  every  member  was  styled  "  citizen."  After 
they  had  continued  their  debates  for  about  a  month,  the  Provost  of 
Edinburgh  entered  their  room,  with  a  suitable  force,  and  ordered 
"Citizen  President"  to  leave  the  chair.  Skirving,  their  secretary, 
and  Margorat  and  Gerald,  were  afterwards  brought  to  trial ;  and, 
being  found  guilty,  were  sentenced  to  be  transported  for  fourteen 
years.  These  conventions  or  societies,  which  were  held  in  several 
towns  in  Scotland,  were,  among  other  things,  in  favour  of  putting  an 
end  to  waging  war  with  their  brother  citizens  in  France.^  In 
Paisley  such  a  society  existed,  and  issued  a  declaration,  dated  12th 
March,  1793,  which  they  pubHshed  in  the  newspapers. 

At  this  critical  period  the  Government  took  precautionary  mea- 
sures of  defence,  by  increasing  the  military  forces  of  the  country 
both  by  land  and  sea.  A  part  of  the  militia  were  called  out  by 
royal  proclamation.  And  on  ist  April,  1793,  a  meeting  of  the 
Magistrates  and  principal  inhabitants  was  held  in  the  Court  Hall, 
who,  after  considering  the  present  honourable  and  necessary  war  in 
which  Great  Britain  is  engaged  with  the  ruling  powers  of  France, 
and  considering  that  the  steady  manning  of  His  Majesty's  navy  is  of 

1  In  January,  1 793,  the  Rev.  James  Steven,  Lochwinnoch,  pieached  an  able 
and  powerful  sermon  in  the  Parish  Church  in  favour  of  the  British  Constitution, 
which  was  afterwards  published  at  the  request  of  many  of  his  parishioners. 


175°    TILL    1800.  69 

great  importance  to  this  country,  resolved  to  offer  a  bounty  to  the 
first  hundred  seamen  or  landsmen  belonging  to,  or  who  have  resided 
in,  the  county  for  six  months,  and  who  shall  voluntarily  enter  with 
the  regulating  captain  at  Greenock  before  ist  May  next : — Three 
guineas  to  each  able-bodied  seaman,  and  two  guineas  to  every 
ordinary  seaman  or  landsman  (Glasgow  Mercury).  The  money 
raised  by  the  inhabitants  to  pay  for  these  bounties  amounted  to 
£S2)'^  ^s-  -^  bill  was  brought  in  for  restraining  the  export  of  arms 
and  ammunition,  and  another  for  prohibiting  the  export  of  grain, 
on  22nd  March,  1793.  The  Council  of  Paisley  authorised  the 
Magistrates  to  subscribe  ^^50  to  the  fund  towards  the  encourage- 
ment of  seamen  entering  the  navy,  and  also  to  call  a  meeting  of  the 
principal  inhabitants  to  contribute  to  a  subscription  for  the  same 
purpose.^ 

To  assist  the  local  civil  powers  in  preserving  peace,  troops  were 
quartered  by  orders  of  the  Government  in  the  large  towns  in  dif- 
ferent parts  of  the  country.  These  soldiers  also  made  every  effort 
to  secure  recruits,  who  were  so  much  wanted  for  the  army  and  navy 
in  connection  with  the  war  against  France.  A  body  of  troops  was 
sent  by  the  Government  to  Paisley ;  and  as  there  was  no  regular 
barracks  to  put  them  into,  the  Council  agreed  that  they  should  be 
accommodated  in  "  their  large  granary,  now  completely  finished."^ 
For  the  security  of  the  country,  the  Government  recommended  that 
bodies  of  Volunteers,  both  infantry  and  cavalry,  should  be  formed. 
Paisley  at  once  responded  to  this  call ;  and  by  the  energy  mainly 
of  Mr.  William  M'Kerrell  of  Hillhouse,  then  a  merchant  in  Paisley, 
this  town  "  had  the  honour  of  raising  the  first  Volunteer  corps  em- 
bodied in  Scotland  during   the   revolutionary  war"^  (History  of 

■^  The  Presbytery  of  Paisley,  "having  taken  into  their  consideration  the  irre- 
ligion  and  inhumanity  of  the  French  nation,"  deemed  it  to  be  their  duty  in  this 
eventful  period  to  issue  a  printed  address  (dated  5th  February,  1794)  to  the 
people  under  their  charge. 

-  Council  Records,  23rd  May,  1794.  This  granary,  as  it  was  called,  was 
situated,  we  beheve,  at  what  is  now  St.  George's  Place. 

^  The  M'Kerrels  were  an  ancient  family  in  Ayrshire.  Sir  John  M'Kirel  dis- 
tinguished himself  at  the  celebrated  battle  of  Otterburn,  on  19th  August,  1388. 
The  first  of  the  name  in  connection  with  the  property  of  Hillhouse  was  William 
M'Kerrel,  who  at  the  beginning  of  the  seventeenth  century  was  Sheriff-Clerk  of 
Ayr.  He  died  in  October,  1629.  It  is  not  known  when  a  descendant  of  the 
M'Kerrels  commenced  business  in  Paisley  and  came  to  reside  there,  but  it  must  have 
been  about  the  middle  of  the  seventeenth  century  ;  for  "Jon  M'Kerrell,  broyer 
to  Hilhous,"  was  one  of  the  witnesses  to  the  important  contract  of  3rd  May, 
1658,  already  described,  between  Lord  Cochran  and  the  Master  of  Cochran  and 
the  Town  Council  of  Paisley.  In  1726,  the  freedom  of  the  burgh  was  conferred 
on  John  M'Kerrel,  Esq.,  and  the  following  is  a  copy  of  the  burgess  ticket  :— 
"  Att  Pasley,  the  twenty-eight  day  of  March,  one  thousand  seven  hundred  and 
twenty-six  years. — The  which  day,  John  M'Kerrell,  Esquier,  for  his  good  deeds 
done,  and  to  be  done,  for  the  ability  of  the  said  Brugh,  was  by  the  Bailies  and 
Councell  thereof  made  and  created  a  free  Burges  of  the  samen,  and  admitted  to 
the  whole  priviledges  and  immunities  of  the  said  Brugh  as  a  free  burges  in  all 
tym  coming.      Who  made  faith  as  use  is,  and  thereupon  a.sked  instruments. — 


70  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Ayrshire,  by  James  Paterson,  vol.  ii.,  p.  32).  In  July,  1794,  the 
gentlemen  of  the  county  of  Renfrew  resolved  to  offer  to  Govern- 
ment to  raise  a  corps  of  infantry,  consisting  of  400  men.  The 
Town  Council  likewise  entered  heartily  into  the  movement,  and 
"  unanimously  agreed  to  make  a  present  of  a  stand  of  colours  to  the 
Paisley  Volunteers,  with  the  town's  arms  thereon, — the  expense 
whereof  not  to  exceed  twenty  guineas  "  (Council  Records,  loth 
September,  1794).  On  25th  October  following,  being  the  anniver- 
sary of  His  Majesty's  accession  to  the  throne,  the  Royal  Volunteers 
marched  to  the  Cross,  where  they  gave  four  volleys,  amidst  the 
cheers  of  the  numerous  onlookers  ;  and,  on  the  fourth  of  the  follow- 
ing month,  the  Magistrates  presented  their  colours  to  them,  and 
they  were  afterwards  reviewed  by  William  Macdowall,  M.P.,  Lord- 
Lieutenant  of  the  county.  The  Council  also,  in  accordance  with 
a  bill  pending  in  Parliament  for  raising  a  number  of  men  in  the 
several  counties,  burghs,  and  towns  in  Scotland,  for  the  service  of 
His  Majesty's  navy,  "  appointed  a  committee  to  agree  with  such 
able-bodied  landsmen  as  can  be  procured,  for  supplying  the  town's 
quota  imposed  on  them  by  the  bill"  (Council  Records,  i6th  April, 
1795).  The  Rev.  John  Findlay,  of  the  High  Church,  acted  as 
chaplain  to  the  Volunteer  corps,  and  they  were  so  much  pleased 
with  his  services,  that  they  resolved,  on  3rd  March,  1795,  to  ]3resent 
the  rev.  gentleman  with  a  token  of  the  esteem  in  which  they  held 
him.  The  presentation  consisted  of  "  an  elegant  silver  cup,  with  an 
ornamented  compartment  on  each  side,  in  one  of  which  was  argent, 
the  colour  of  the  corps  in  Salter,  displayed  with  an  imperial  crown 
in  chief;  the  thistle  in  base  all  proper."  Motto — "To  support  the 
King  and  Constitution."  There  was  a  suitable  inscription  in  the 
other  compartment,  expressive  of  the  donors'  esteem  for  their 
clergyman. 

At  this  time  great  distress  prevailed  among  the  working  classes 
in  the  country,  from  the  dearth  of  provisions  caused  by  bad  har- 
vests. Trade  also  was  bad,  and  there  was  therefore  great  popular 
discontent.  Parliament  was  opened  on  29th  October  in  this  year; 
and  when  the  King  went  down  in  state  to  deliver  his  opening 
speech,  he  was  greeted  with  hootings  and  hisses ;  with  cries  of 
"Bread,"  "Peace,"  "No  War,"  "No  Famine,"  "No  Pitt." 
"  Down  with  George"  was  also  heard  from  several  voices.  When  the 
royal  coach  was  opposite  the  Ordnance,  a  pebble  or  bullet,  proceed- 
ing from  what  was  supposed  to  be  an  air  gun,  broke  a  hole  in  the 
glass  of  the  window  (Stanhope's  Life  of  Pitt,  vol.  ii.,  p.  353). 
Numerous  addresses  were  afterwards  sent  to  the  King  from   all 

Extracted  by  Ro.  Wilson,  Clk."  The  M'Kerrels  afterwards  conducted  a  large 
business  in  Paisley  and  London  as  manufacturers  of  gauze  and  muslins,  along 
with  their  brother-in-law,  James  Kibble  of  Whiteford  and  Greenlaw,  and  their 
cousins  the  Fultons,  under  the  firm  of  M'Kerrels  &  Kibble  and  Fultons  & 
M'Kerrel.  The  reader  is  further  referred  to  X\\e  History  of  the  Fatiiilies  of  Ayr- 
s/nn\  by  Mr.  James  Paterson. 


1750    TILL    1800.  71 

parts  of  the  country,  and  the  Town  Council  of  Paisley  "  unanimously 
agreed  to  address  His  Majesty  on  the  lucky  escape  from  the  late 
attack  made  on  his  person  going  to  and  coming  from  the  House  of 
Parliament"  ( Coimcil  Records,  6th  November,  1795).  This  attack 
on  the  King  was  immediately  followed  by  a  royal  proclamation, 
from  which  we  extract  the  following  : — "  We,  therefore,  with  the 
advice  of  our  Privy  Council,  in  pursuance  of  an  address  from  our 
two  Houses  of  Parliament,  do  hereby  enjoin  all  Magistrates,  and 
all  other  our  loving  subjects,  to  use  their  utmost  endeavours  to  dis- 
cover and  cause  to  be  apprehended  the  authors,  actors,  and  abettors 
concerned  in  such  outrages,  in  order  that  they  may  be  dealt  with 
according  to  law  ;  and  we  do  hereby  promise  that  any  person  or 
persons,  other  than  those  actually  concerned  in  doing  any  act  by 
which  our  royal  person  was  immediately  endangered,  who  shall  give 
information  so  as  that  any  of  the  authors,  actors,  or  abettors  con- 
cerned in  such  outrage,  as  aforesaid,  may  be  apprehended  and 
brought  to  justice,  shall  receive  a  reward  of  one  thousand  pounds  " 
(  William  Hedoi'  s  Judicial  Records  of  Renfreivshire,  vol.  i.,  p.  169). 

Parliament,  after  carrying  measures  for  alleviating  the  distress 
prevailing  in  the  country,  passed  an  Act,  which  was  restricted  to 
three  years,  against  seditious  meetings.  Summary  powers  were 
given  in  it  to  Magistrates  to  disperse  them  by  force,  if  necessary. 
On  30th  November,  1795,  the  Council  appointed  a  committee  "to 
draw  up  a  petition  to  the  House  of  Commons  to  pass  the  bill  re- 
specting seditious  meetings."  When  the  French  Government  were 
making  preparations  for  w-ar,  near  the  end  of  1796,  Parhament 
agreed  to  increase  the  forces  of  the  country,  both  by  recruiting  the 
regiments  of  the  line  and  also  by  a  supplementary  body  of  militia. 
The  number  of  men  the  Council  had  to  provide  was  eighteen,  and 
they  appointed  a  committee  "  to  enlist  men  for  that  purpose,  and 
to  draw  on  the  Town  Clerk  for  the  necessary  expense  attending  the 
•sdiXiit"  (  Council  Records,  i8th  November,  1796). 

The  Volunteer  Corps,  as  well  as  the  Yeomanry  Cavalry,  were 
reviewed  on  several  occasions  about  this  time.  On  25th  November, 
1795,  the  Volunteers  were  reviewed  by  Major-General  Hamilton, 
who  expressed  his  high  approbation  of  their  appearance  and  con- 
duct. The  weather  was  uncommonly  fine,  and  the  scene  was, 
besides,  much  enlivened  by  the  presence  of  four  companies  of  the 
Renfrewshire  Yeomanry  Cavalry,  who  guarded  the  field.  On  9th 
August  in  the  following  year,  the  Renfrewshire  Yeomanry  Cavalry 
were  reviewed  by  Major-General  Hamilton,  in  the  presence  of  an 
immense  number  of  spectators.  The  word  of  command  was  given 
by  the  Earl  of  Glasgow,  colonel  of  the  corps  ;  and  the  men,  consist- 
ing of  eight  companies  of  fifty  each,  went  through  their  firings  and 
evolutions  with  the  greatest  exactness,  and  received  the  thanks  of 
the  General  in  the  warmest  terms  of  commendation  (Glasgow 
Mercury).  In  the  beginning  of  the  following  year,  when  the  Council 
wished  more  volunteers  for  the  "  internal  defence  of  the  community, 


72  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

and  to  be  managed  under  the  '  Volunteer  Act,'  they  agreed  to  call  a 
meeting  of  the  principal  inhabitants  of  the  town,  to  lay  the  measure 
heioxQ  lh.tm"  ( Coie/icii  Records,  23rd  February,  1797).  The  result 
of  this  meeting  is  not  recorded  in  any  way  ;  but  as  the  inhabitants 
were  animated  with  a  strong  patriotic  and  warlike  disposition  at  this 
time,  there  is  no  doubt  the  wish  of  the  Council  was  readily  com- 
plied with.  In  the  latter  end  of  this  year  (1797),  when  the  finan- 
cial measures  of  Pitt  were  in  committee  in  the  House  of  Commons, 
it  was  suggested  that  an  opportunity  should  be  extended  to  those 
who  wished  to  give  free  contributions  in  addition  to  their  assess- 
ments. During  January  and  February,  1798,  Pitt  availed  himself 
of  this  proposal,  and  the  sums  received  in  this  way  were  immense. 
Hustings  were  erected  under  the  piazza  of  the  Royal  Exchange, 
London,  and  people  of  all  ranks  came  forward  and  gave  sums  vary- 
ing from  ;£i  to  _;^3ooo.  The  first  day's  subscriptions  exceeded 
;^46,ooo.  Mr.  Robert  Peel  (the  father  of  the  great  Sir  Robert 
Peel)  subscribed  ^10,000,  the  City  of  London  gave  the  same 
amount,  and  the  Bank  of  England,  _;^2oo,ooo.  Upwards  of  two 
million  pounds  were  subscribed  throughout  the  country  in  this  way. 
The  Town  Council  of  Paisley,  inspired  by  a  patriotic  impulse, 
"  agreed  to  give  ^300  as  a  voluntary  subscription  for  the  aid  of  the 
Government,  and  authorised  Bailie  Orr  to  sign  for  this  sum  along 
with  the  other  inhabitants"  (Council  Records,  2nd  March,  1798). 

Enthusiastic  public  meetings  were  held  throughout  the  entire 
kingdom  for  the  purpose  of  promoting  similar  subscriptions  to  aid 
the  Government.  A  meeting,  convened  by  the  Magistrates  and 
Town  Council  of  Paisley,  was  held  on  3rd  March,  1798, — John 
Orr,  chief  magistrate,  presiding.  The  meeting  was  well  attended, 
and  unanimously  resolved—"  (i)  That  all  the  friends  of  their  country 
ought  in  every  time  of  danger  to  exert  themselves  for  its  protection 
and  defence.  To  this  they  are  called,  not  only  by  true  patriotism, 
but  by  a  regard  to  their  own  personal  safety,  their  domestic  com- 
forts, and  everything  that  is  dear  to  the  hearts  of  men.  (2)  That 
the  danger  which  at  present  threatens  our  country  is  greatly  alarm- 
ing ;  when  our  powerful,  resolute,  and  implacable  enemies  have 
insolently  refused  to  propose  or  listen  to  any  reasonable  terms  of 
peace,  and  have  boldly  declared  their  intention  to  invade  our 
country,  destroy  our  constitution,  and  to  ruin  our  commerce,  on 
which  our  prosperity  depends  ;  when,  to  accomplish  this  design, 
they  are  making  the  most  formidable  preparations,  and  to  defray 
the  expense  have  not  only  called  for  voluntary  contributions,  but 
have  opened  a  loan  for  which  the  spoils  of  Britain  are  to  be  the 
special  security.  (3)  That  in  these  circumstances  it  is  our  interest, 
as  well  as  our  duty,  to  make  the  greatest  exertions  for  our  own  de- 
fence, as  the  privileges  we  enjoy  are  inestimable,  and  as  we  have 
every  reason  to  fear  that,  if  our  desperate  enemies  should  succeed 
in  their  daring  attempt,  they  will  not  only  overturn  our  Government 
and  annihilate  our  navy,  but  rob  us  of  our  religion,  strip  us  of  our 
property,  ruin  our  trade,  and  reduce  us  to  a  state  of  the  most  abject 


1750   TILL    1800. 


73 


dependence.  (4)  That,  as  Government  are  carrying  on  most  effec- 
tual measures  for  the  preservation  of  our  independence  as  a  country 
and  our  safety  as  individuals,  and  as  in  present  circumstances  it  is 
clearly  the  interest  of  the  nation  to  raise  as  large  a  proportion  of 
the  supplies  as  possible  within  the  year,  the  proposal  of  a  voluntary 
subscription  in  aid  of  the  fund  to  be  raised  by  a  new  assessment  is 
highly  proper,  and  becoming  the  spirit  of  a  wealthy  and  generous 
people,  who  wish  to  secure  to  themselves  and  posterity  those  in- 
estimable privileges,  civil  and  sacred,  which  they  and  their  fore- 
fathers have  so  long  enjoyed."  A  further  resolution  was  passed  for 
the  appointment  of  a  committee  to  carry  out  the  objects  of  the 
meeting;  and  the  following  is  a  list,  taken  from  the  Glasgow 
Courier  of  the  munificent  subscriptions  made  by  the  inhabitants  at 
that  period  in  response  to  this  able  and  eloquent  appeal : — 

The  Town  of  Paisley, ;if  300  o 

The  Royal  Paisley  Volun- 
teers,   1000  o 

John  Orr, 50  o 

John  Wilson  &  Co., 105  o 

John  Wilson, 105  o 

William  Stuart,  52  10 

Thomas  Bissland,  jun., 52  10 

The  Society  of  Merchants,  105  o 

The  Paisley  Banking  Co.,  500  o 

James  Hunter, 52  10 

John  Pollock,   26  5 

William  Orr,  jun.,  50  o 

Alexander  Macalister, 31  10 

Jamiesons  &  Robertson,...  63  10 

William  Stuart 50  o 

Thomas  Whitehead, 30  o 

Brown,  Sharps,  &  Co., 63  o 

William  King, 60  o 

Brown,  Gourlay,  &  Co.,...  50  o 

Robert  Ralston,  lo  10 

James  Dunlop  &  Co., 100  o 

John  Davidson, 10  10 

The  Society  of  Writers, ...  50  o 

John  White, 10  10 

Alexander  Bissland, 10  10 

Alexander  Gibson,  10  10 

Robert  Brown, 

James  Gardner 

William  M' Walter, 

Alexander  Dunn, 

Thomas  Brown, 


10 
I 
2 
I 
I 


Robert  Hunter, 52  10 

James  Walkinshaw, 

James  M 'Walter,  sen., .. 

James  Paterson,   

Hugh  Richmond, 

Archibald  Gardner, 

John  Stirling, 


John  Love, 21 


William  Nevin, £e^     5 

John  Galbreath, 5     5 

Andrew  Leiper, 21     o 

Gerard  &  Smith, 42     o 

Thomas  Stevenson, 5     5 

John  Motherwell, 10  10 

John  Peddie, 

Hugh  M  'Gregor, 

Alexander  Kerr,  

Lorrain  Wilson  &  Son,  ... 

Andrew  Kerr,  

George  &  James  Christie, 

William  Cochran, 

John  Warnock, 

William  Aiken, 

Gavin  Browning, 

Nathaniel  Gibson, 

Peter  M'Arthur,  

John  Neilson, 3     3 

James  Paterson, 5     5 

James  Campbell, 3     3 

William  Twigg, 21     o 

Archibald  Maxwell, 5     5 

Robert  Maxwell,  10  10 

John  Graham,  21     o 

Andrew  Wright,  2     2 

Andrew  Leitch, 

James  Finlaytor,  ... 
William  Aberdeen, 

Peter  Wright, 

William  Langmuir, 


2  2 
I  o 
I  I 

30  o 

3  o 
10  10 

I  I 

1  I 

3     3 

2  2 
10  10 

2     2 


Fulton  M'Kerrel, 25 

James  Millingan, 

Archibald  Livingston, 

Walter  Neilson, 

John  Galloway, 

David  Coats, 

David  Gordon, 

Andrew  Miller, 

Robert  M  'Kinlay,  R.  P.  V. , 


^  These  letters  represent  Royal  Paisley  Volunteer,  and  the  subscription  is  in 
addition  to  what  was  subscribed  by  the  Corps. 

V 


74 


HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 


Alexander  Walker, £i  i 

Thomas  Walker, i  i 

John  Bishop, I  II 

William  S.  Stephen,    i  I 

James  Beith,  R.P.V., 2  2 

John  Laird, 2  2 

William  Gififen,  R.P.V.,..  2  2 

William  Lamb,  R. P. V.,...  2  2 

Gavin  Lambie,  R.P.V.,...  2  2 

John  Morrison, I  I 

George  Maxwell,  R.P.V.,  2  2 

John  Barbour,  sen., 2  2 

John  Stewart,, i  i 

David  M'Neill, i  i 

John  Craig,  R.P.V., i  i 

David  Thomson, i  i 

James  Blaikie,  R.P.V.,  ...  i  i 

John  Parker,  R.P.V., i  i 

Thomas  Spreul, i  i 

William  Adam, I  I 

John  Robertson,  2  2 

John  Fulton, i  i 

Alexander  Robertson, o  lo 

Daniel  Shaw, i  i 

Robert  Weir, o  7 

Walter  Buchanan,  jun.,  ...  i  i 

James  Carlisle, 5  5 

William  Clark  &  Co., 21  o 

John  Knox  &  Sons, 10  10 

Thomas  Scott, 2  2 

John  Bell, 5  S 

William  M'Lean i  i 

Bain  &  Howie, 5  o 

James  Mair, 10  10 

William  Stow, 10  o 

John  Brown, 2  2 

Stevenson  &  Mann, ...  5  o 

Robert  M'Lean, 5  5 

William  Barr,  3  3 

John  Calder, 5  5 

Thomas  Aikenhead, 3  3 

Robert  Wilson, 31  10 

Robert  Burnet  &  Co., I  I 

William  Campbell, 2  o 

William  Hodge, i  i 

William  Campbell, 2  o 

David  Traill, 2  2 

Charles  Ross, 10  10 

William  Borland, i  I 

John  Baton, 2  2 

Robert  Jamieson, 1  I 

Robert  Carswell, I  I 

John  Auchencloss,  2  2 

Walter  Weir  &  Son, 4  4 

Thomas  Marshall, i  I 

John  Storie, 5  5 

John  Thomson, 2  2 

William  Love, 6  o 


Andrew  Smith  &  Son, ;,f2l 

Robert  Leishman, i 

Robert  Barclay, 10 

William  Wilson,  2 

Claud  Neilson, loo 

James  Lindsay, i 

John  Cochran,  o 

William  Neilson, 2 

Smith  (S:  Strang, 5 

Robert  Gilmour,  I 

William  Alexander, 10 

James  Boyd, i 

Robert  Lockhart, o 

Henry  Bowie,  5 

James  Neilson, I 

Francis  Dunnet  &  Co., —  3 

Andrew  Deans, 5 

Robert  Baird, 5 

William  Pattison, 5 

Jas.  Buchanan,  Newtown,  100 

John  Corse,  50 

John  Buchanan,  Newtown,  21 

John  Gibb, 26 

John  Speirs, 5 

John  Fleming  &  Co.,  6 

Hugh  Thomson,  15 

Andrew  Moody, 30 

William  M'Kechnie, i 

Matthew  Smith, 10 

David  Finlay,  5 

John  Fyfe, 2 

John  Shields, I 

Gillies  &  White,  25 

Edward  Jamieson, 10 

John  Snodgi-ass, 10 

William  Orr,  jun 10 

Joseph  M  'Leod, 5 

Thomas  Ker, 3 

James  Kibble,  sen 50 

Robert  Cochran, i 

Alexander  Nairne 26 

Archibald  Smith, I 

Matthew  Cathcart, I 

Robert  Cathcart, I 

John  Woodrow, 2 

Archibald  Roxburgh, 2 

James  Donald, 2 

William  Gordon, o 

James  Pattison, I 

David  Corse, 21 

John  Young, lo 

Hew  Snodgrass, 5 

William  Hume, 3 

Robert  Muir 2 

John  King, 21 

Thomas  Bissland,  sen......  21 

Wm.  Robertson,  Greenhill,  I 

Jas.  Gardner,  Arkleston,^  o 


0 

0 

I 

0 

10 

0 

2 

0 

0 

0 

I 

10 

0 
6 

2 

0 

0 

0 

I 

0 

10 

0 

I 
10 

0 
6 

5 

I 

0 

0 

3 

0 

0 
0 

0 

0 

5 
0 

0 
0 

0 

0 

0 

0 

5 
5 
6 

0 
0 
0 

0 

0 

0 

0 

I 

0 

10 

0 

0 

0 

2 

0 

I 

0 

0 

0 

10 

0 

10 

0 

10 

0 

5 
3 
0 

0 
0 
0 

I 

0 

5 
5 
0 

0 
0 
0 

0 

0 

2 

0 

2 

0 

2 
10 

0 
6 

I 

0 

0 

0 

10 

0 

5 
3 
2 

0 
0 
0 

0 

0 

0 

0 

0 

0 

10 

0 

^  Glasgow  Courier. 


I7SO   TILL    1800. 


75 


The  ladies  of  Paisley  also  being  anxious  to  evince  their  patriotism 
and  loyalty  in  that  crisis,  opened  a  subscription -list,  and  the  follow- 
ing sums  were  procured  : — 

Mrs.  Hamilton, ^100    o    o 

Mrs.  Neilson, 80    o    o 

Mrs.  Wilson, 30    o    o 

Mrs.  John  Orr, 5     5° 

Mrs.  Hunter,  880 

Mrs.  Fulton,  Hartfield,  ...       10  10    o 


Mrs.  Stuart, £6    6 

Mrs.  Thomas  Bissland,  ...         5     5 

Mrs.  Andrew  Brown, 

Mrs.  Charles  Maxwell, .... 
Mrs.  James  Walkinshaw, . . 
Miss  Young, 


5  5 

10  10 

3  3 

5  5 


The  total  voluntary  contributions  in  Paisley  at  that  time  amounted 
to  ;^45i6  4s.  The  population,  including  the  Abbey  Parish,  was 
then  about  27,000.    In  Glasgow, ;^i 5,1 91   13s.  6d.  was  subscribed. 

On  24th  October,  1798,  there  were  great  demonstrations  in 
Paisley  in  honour  of  His  Majesty's  accession  to  the  throne,  and  of 
the  naval  victory  of  Admiral  Nelson  at  Aboukir  on  ist  August, 
1798.  The  Lord -Lieutenant  inspected  the  Volunteers;  and, 
attended  by  the  Magistrates  and  Sheriff,  witnessed  "  three  cheering 
volleys  "  at  the  Cross.  The  Lord -Lieutenant  dined  afterwards  with 
the  officers  of  the  Volunteers,  the  Magistrates  and  Sheriff,  the 
officers  of  the  Dumbarton  and  Argyleshire  Militia  (then  stationed  in 
Paisley),  and  a  number  of  private  gentlemen.  In  the  evening,  illu- 
minations commenced,  and  soon  became  universal  throughout  the 
town.  Many  beautiful  transparencies,  maritime  devices,  and  ap- 
propriate mottoes  and  sentiments  were  exhibited.  In  the  centre 
window  of  the  County  Hall  and  Sheriff-Clerk's  office  was  a  trans- 
parent crown,  with  the  letters  "  G.  III.  R."  over  it,  and  the  words, 
"God  save  the  King."  In  a  scroll  over  the  figure  of  Britannia, 
pointing  to  ships  at  sea,  was  written,  "  Rule  Britannia."  On  the 
other  five  windows  were  the  names  of  Duncan,  Nelson,  Howe,  St. 
Vincent,  and  Warren,  in  a  transparent  scroll,  with  the  date  and 
scene  of  their  respective  victories  ;  and  under  the  name  of  Nelson 
the  beautiful  introductory  sentence  of  his  lordship's  official  account 
of  his  victory.  The  whole  was  executed  by  Mr.  Waterston,  sen., 
painter.  There  were  several  bonfires  ;  and  the  crowds  in  the 
streets  conducted  themselves  in  a  most  correct  and  orderly  manner. 
When  the  non-commissioned  officers  and  privates  of  the  Ayrshire 
and  Renfrewshire  Militia  heard  of  the  victory  of  Admiral  Nelson, 
they  agreed  to  give  two  days'  pay  for  the  relief  of  the  widows  and 
children  of  those  brave  men  who  had  fallen  in  that  memorable 
action. 


On  28th  May,  1799,  the  Council  agreed  "  to  paint  one  flag  to  the 
town."  It  would  likely  be  for  the  Militia.  While  it  is  true  that  a 
number  of  the  inhabitants  who  held  seditious  opinions,  and  were 
admirers  of  the  revolutionists  in  France,  the  great  body  of  the  people 
were  nevertheless  thoroughly  loyal.  During  the  latter  part  of  the  last 
decade  of  the  century,  the  military  ardour  of  the  inhabitants  was 
strong,  and  many  recruits  were  obtained  in  Paisley  for  the  army. 


76  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

We  have  this,  along  with  other  interesting  matter,  testified  by  John 
Parkhill,  who  then  hved  in  Paisley. 

On  31st  August,  1799,  all  the  Volunteer  associations  of  the 
county  of  Renfrew  were  reviewed  by  General  Drummond,  accom- 
panied by  Mr.  Macdowall  of  Garthland,  Lord -Lieutenant,  in  a  field 
at  Barnsford.  The  arrangements  in  connection  with  the  review 
were  upon  a  most  extensive  and  novel  scale.  A  tent  in  form  of  a 
square  was  erected  in  the  field,  to  accommodate  a  company  of  about 
300  ladies  and  gentlemen.  In  the  centre  of  the  tent  a  platform  was 
placed  for  the  company  to  dance  on,  and  around  it  temporary  tables 
and  benches  were  erected  for  the  Volunteer  corps.  Shortly  after 
mid-day,  the  different  corps,  viz.,  the  Infantry,  Yeomanry  of  the 
County,  the  Royal  Paisley  Volunteers,  the  Loyal  Greenock  Volun- 
teers, the  Port-Glasgow  Volunteers  and  Artillery,  assembled  in  the 
field,  and  formed  an  extensive  fine  two  deep.  The  artillerymen, 
with  two  field-pieces,  were  ranged  on  each  flank.  The  number  of 
Volunteers  present  exceeded  1500.  After  the  General  and  Lord- 
Lieutenant  had  passed  along  the  lines,  and  the  marching,  firing,  and 
evolutions  were  performed,  and  arms  piled,  the  men  went  by  com- 
panies to  the  tables,  where  they  partook  of  an  excellent  dinner, — ■ 
the  respective  captains  presiding  over  each  company.  Afterwards, 
the  General  and  Lord- Lieutenant,  along  with  a  numerous  assem- 
blage of  ladies  and  gentlemen,  repaired  to  the  tent  to  partake  of  a 
cold  collation,  during  which  the  band  of  the  Forfarshire  Militia 
discoursed  some  appropriate  music.  When  the  company  withdrew 
from  dinner,  the  tent  was  thrown  open,  and  dancing  was  commenced, 
which  continued  for  several  hours.  The  crowd  of  spectators  in  the 
field  was  immense,  amounting  to  at  least  20,000.  The  utmost  har- 
mony, however,  prevailed,  everyone  being  impressed  with  those 
sentiments  of  loyalty,  zeal,  and  public  spirit  which  on  all  occasions 
distinguished  the  Volunteer  associations  of  the  county  of  Renfrew. 
Several  popular  songs  were  sung  at  the  different  tables.  We  give 
here  the  last  verse  of  a  song  that  was  composed  for  the  occasion  : — 

"  When  some  demagogues  wild  to  our  Monarchy  mild 

Had  assumed  of  rebellion  the  armour. 
Their  rage  to  restrain  and  our  rights  to  maintain, 

We  appealed  to  the  Yeoman  and  Farmer. 
Now  let  Heaven's  vault  ring  to  the  health  of  the  King, 

To  Britannia, — no  Frenchman  shall  harm  her, — 
To  our  soldiers  so  brave,  to  each  son  of  the  wave, 

To  the  Volunteer,  Yeoman,  and  Farmer.'' 

"  The  war  was  now  going  on  in  all  its  fury.  Nothing  was  heard 
but  the  sound  of  drums  and  fifes,  mixed  with  cavalry  trumpets. 
There  were,  for  two  or  three  years,  at  least  two  dozen  of  recruiting 
parties  in  Paisley,  which  seemed  to  be  universally  considered  a 
depot  for  recruits.  At  its  commencement,  the  great  majority  of  the 
people  both  in  England  and  Scotland  were  much  against  war ;  and 


175°  TILL  1800.  77 

the  Government  displayed  great  anxiety  to  infuse  a  warlike  spirit 
into  the  nation.  Hence,  in  every  large  town  regiments  of  Volun- 
teers were  embodied,  each  of  whom  had  a  due  complement  of  dnuns 
and  fifes.  They  played  through  the  streets  at  night,  beating  what 
was  called  the  '  tattoo.'  Every  country  parish  had  generally  a  com- 
pany, termed  the  Yeomanry,  who  came  in  occasionally  and  were 
brigaded  in  the  nearest  large  town.  The  first  burst  of  the  war  took 
place  in  the  Netherlands,  where  an  army  had  been  sent  under  the 
Duke  of  York.  Here  the  army  was  defeated,  and  had  to  make  a 
disastrous  retreat  in  the  most  inclement  part  of  the  year.  A  vast 
number  of  the  youths  belonging  to  Paisley  were  in  that  ill-fated 
expedition,  and  the  news  of  the  death  of  many  of  them  rendered 
the  peaceful  town  a  scene  of  sorrow  and  mourning.  Indeed,  it 
came  so  unexpectedly  that  the  shock  was  irresistibly  severe  • —  many 
who  had  fallen  not  having  been  six  weeks  enlisted.  There  were  a 
great  many  Highlanders  at  this  time  in  Paisley.  The  Irish  had  not 
come  in  like  a  flood  then,  and  therefore  at  all  times  there  was  a 
considerable  Highland  population  here.  As  there  were  at  least  a 
dozen  of  Highland  fencible  regiments  raised  at  the  commencement 
of  the  war,  a  great  number  of  recruits  were  drawn  from  that  locality. 
Two  or  three  regiments  of  light  cavalry  fencibles,  too,  had  their 
head -quarters  here  ;  the  town  and  its  surrounding  neighbourhood 
supplied  sufticient  raw  material  to  make  soldiers  ;  and  thus  gradu- 
ally a  warlike  spirit  was  infused  into  the  nation.  There  is  a 
w^onderful  alteration  in  men's  minds  now.  I  do  not  think  that  a 
regiment  of  a  thousand  strong  could  be  raised  in  seven  years,  such 
is  the  growing  intelligence  of  the  people  and  their  antipathy  to  war. 
So  great  a  change  from  a  state  of  peace  to  that  of  war  made  a  won- 
derful impression  on  people's  minds.  Broken  hearts  and  all  the 
vicissitudes  of  ordinary  life  were  nothing  to  it.  Families  were 
broken  up,  children  were  made  fatherless,  and  wives  left  in  all  the 
misery  of  desolation  ;  whereby  a  state  of  things  was  produced  of 
which  we,  after  more  than  forty  years  of  peace,  can  form  no  con- 
ception. This,  too,  is  only  one  jDortion  of  the  picture.  Thousands 
on  thousands  of  innocent  boys  were  spirited  away ;  and  it  was 
nothing  uncommon  for  three  sons  of  one  family  to  become  soldiers. 
I  had  a  brother  who  went  off,  and,  young  as  I  was,  my  heart  was 
like  to -break.  Every  week  letters  were  coming  home  giving  the 
sad  details  of  sons,  fathers,  and  brothers  killed,  and  of  others  who 
had  died  in  hospitals  from  wounds  or  fevers  produced  by  the  pesti- 
lent malaria  of  inhospitable  climates.  Our  soldiers  were  praised  for 
their  bravery  ;  but,  alas  !  many  who  came  home  severely  wounded 
had  the  pitiful  allowance  of  sixpence  or  tenpence  per  day  awarded 
for  all  their  bravery ;  whilst  others,  with  their  constitutions  ruined 
for  life,  if  they  were  not  wounded,  had  no  allowance  whatever."^ 

'^  Autobiography  of  Arthur  Sneddon,  p.  22.  John  Parkhill  assumed  this  w^^w 
de plume  in  this  way  : — He  lived  in  a  house  at  Maxwellton  that  belonged  to  Mr. 
Arthur  Smith,  who  resided  in  New  Sneddon  Street ;  and  when  Mr.  Smith  called 
for  payment  of  rent,  John  Parkhill  always  said  to  his  shopmates,  ' '  There  comes 
Arthur  Sneddon." 


78  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

A  game -preservation  society  existed  in  the  county  in  this  period, 
and  its  place  of  meeting  was  in  Paisley  —  generally  the  Saracen's 
Head  Inn.  But  we  have  no  knowledge  when  it  was  established. 
The  first  notice  we  have  of  one  of  their  business  meetings  was  on 
27  th  March,  1783,  when  the  noblemen  and  gentlemen  present 
resolved  that  all  poachers  should  be  immediately  prosecuted  —  not 
only  for  offences  committed  against  the  game  laws,  but  likewise  for 
injuring  fences.  Offenders  were  to  be  prosecuted,  at  the  expense 
of  the  society,  by  William  Campbell,  writer  in  Kilbarchan.  At 
another  meeting  of  the  members  of  the  association,  held  on  i6th 
September,  1788,  for  the  preservation  of  game  in  the  county,  it  was 
represented  that  much  game  was  destroyed  with  traps  and  snares  ; 
that  poachers  were  extremely  numerous ;  that  many  persons  had 
taken  out  licenses  who  possessed  no  real  property,  and  presumed  to 
hunt  upon  grounds  where  they  had  no  liberty  ;  and  that  the  rewards 
falling  to  informers,  upon  the  conviction  of  offenders,  were  not 
generally  understood.  The  meeting  therefore  resolved  to  intimate, 
as  they  were  determined  to  put  a  stop  to  such  illegal  practices,  that 
every  person  shooting  a  hare  was  liable  in  ^{^20  scots  (33s.  4d.  stg.) 
for  each  offence ;  that  any  person  carrying  any  sort  of  game,  or 
having  the  same  in  their  custody,  without  the  leave  or  order  of  a 
person  qualified,  was,  for  the  first  offence,  liable  in  payment  of  20s. 
stg.,  or  six  weeks'  imprisonment,  and  in  payment  of  40s.  stg.  for  the 
second  and  every  subsequent  offence,  or  three  months'  imprisonment, 
and  the  informer  is  entitled  to  the  half  of  these  fines.  And 
any  person  who  shall  use  any  gun  or  dog  for  the  destruction  of 
game,  without  having  first  obtained  a  license  certificate,  and  paid 
;£2  2S.  therefor  to  government,  is  liable  in  the  sum  of  ;^2o  stg., 
payable  wholly  to  the  informer.  William  Campbell,  writer  in 
Kilbarchan,  was  again  empowered  to  prosecute  offenders  at  the 
expense  of  the  society,  and  to  pay  informers  a  moiety  of  the  penalties. 

The  first  of  the  several  serious  depressions  of  trade  in  Paisley, 
which  it  will  hereafter  be  our  painful  duty  to  record,  occurred  in 
1783.  In  that  year  many  of  the  weavers  were  out  of  employment, 
great  poverty  therefore  prevailed,  and  they  suffered  very  much, 
notwithstanding  the  efforts  that  were  made  to  alleviate  their  distress. 
Provisions,  at  the  same  time,  were  high  in  price  and  very  scarce. 
One  of  the  schemes  proposed  by  the  manufacturers  for  assisting  the 
working  classes  to  get  an  opportunity  of  purchasing  food  at  a 
moderate  price,  was  to  subscribe  money,  to  be  given  in  loan  to  the 
Town  Council  for  six  months,  without  charging  any  interest,  and  to 
be  employed  by  them  in  purchasing  meal  and  grain,  to  be  sold  in 
the  market-place  (Council  Records,  24th  January,  1783).  The 
Council  readily  agreed  to  this  proposal,  and  appointed  a  com- 
mittee to  manage  the  fund  subscribed.  Twenty  manufacturing 
firms  subscribed  upwards  of  ;^i8oo  to  carry  out  this  philan- 
thropic object.  In  addition  to  this  generous  loan  of  the  manu- 
facturers,  about  ;^40o   was   subscribed,  to   be   given  in  weekly 


175°  TILL  1800.  79 

payments  to  the  necessitous,  and  committees  of  the  subscribers  were 
appointed  to  visit  these  in  the  different  districts  into  which  the  town 
was  subdivided,  and  to  report  to  the  general  committee  how  much 
each  should  be  allowed.  In  this  way  upwards  of  three  hundred 
families,  or  single  persons,  enjoyed  the  benefit  of  this  charitable 
supply.  The  relief  committee  also,  in  order  to  encourage  farmers 
and  others  to  bring  meal  to  the  market,  offered  a  bounty  of  sixpence 
per  boll  to  any  who  should  bring  above  nine  bolls  of  meal,  and  sell 
the  same  in  the  market,  in  one  week.  Persons  acting  in  this  way 
were  also  to  be  free  from  all  town's  dues. 

At  the  beginning  of  1786,  many  of  the  working  classes  were  again 
suffering  from  the  depressed  state  of  the  weaving  trade.  A  fund,  to 
which  the  Council,  in  consequence  of  "  the  state  of  the  poor 
inhabitants"  (Council  Records,  nth  January,  1786),  subscribed 
;^2o,  was  raised  for  their  relief.  The  different  societies  in  the  town 
also  joined  in  contributing  to  this  fund ;  and  the  Countess  of 
Glasgow  gave  one  hundred  carts  of  coals,  to  be  distributed  among 
the  poor  of  the  town,  which  helped  to  relieve  those  who  were 
suffering  from  the  temporary  stagnation  of  trade. 

In  1793,  the  weaving  trade  was  again  in  a  very  depressed  state, 
and  many  of  the  industrious  poor  suffered  severely.  On  26th 
November,  in  that  year,  a  meeting  of  the  principal  inhabitants  was 
held,  to  consider  some  method  for  relieving  those  out  of  work,  when 
it  was  agreed  to  open  a  subscription  for  that  purpose.  Three 
hundred  guineas  was  subscribed  at  that  meeting  —  one  firm  having 
given  fifty  guineas  ;  and  Col.  Allan  Cameron  generously  transmitted 
twenty  guineas  to  the  Magistrates,  in  aid  of  the  fund.  Within  a 
week  afterwards,  nearly  ;^9oo  had  been  subscribed  (a  proof  of  the 
opulence  and  liberality  of  the  merchants)  to  assist  in  lessening  the 
sufferings  of  those  who  could  not  obtain  employment. 

The  Town  Council  continued,  when  necessary,  to  enforce  the  fine 
against  those  who  refused  to  act  as  councillors  when  elected.  On 
3rd  November,  1788,  "the  town  clerk  reported  that  Bailie  John 
Storrie  had  lodged  in  his  hands  ^^3  stg.,  as  a  fine  for  not  accepting 
being  a  councillor."  On  22nd  October,  1799,  "the  Council, 
considering  that  Mr.  Wm.  Bissland  has  refused,  after  being  chosen, 
to  accept  of  the  office  of  councillor,  they  enact  and  fine  him  in 
p^3  stg.  for  this  refusal,  and  to  be  prosecuted  therefor." 

Unlicensed  distillers  of  whiskey  appear  to  have  been  numerous  at 
this  time,  and  interfered  very  much  with  the  business  of  those  who 
paid  their  licenses.  On  6th  October,  1786,  a  meeting  of  the  hcensed 
distillers  was  held  at  Paisley,  for  the  protection  of  the  trade  and  the 
fair  dealer.  For  that  purpose  they  resolved  to  raise  a  fund,  each 
paying  in  proportion  to  the  contents  of  his  still,  to  be  applied  to  the 
discovery  of  illicit  distillers,  those  who  let  houses  for  such  purposes, 


8o  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

and  officers  of  excise  who  connived  at  such  unlawful  practices  within 
their  districts  (Glasgow  Mercury). 

On  the  recovery  of  George  III.  from  his  alarming  attack,  in  April, 
1789,  the  Magistrates  and  Council  forwarded  an  address  to  His 
Majesty,  as  follows  : — "We  take  leave  to  offer  to  your  Majesty  our 
most  cordial  congratulations  upon  the  very  joyful  occasion  of  your 
Maj  esty's  being  recovered  from  an  inflicting  indisposition,  and  restored 
to  a  dutiful  and  affectionate  people.  We  cannot  but  express  our 
sincere  joy  upon  an  event  so  felicitous  to  these  realms,  and  so 
ardently  desired  by  persons  of  every  rank  amongst  us.  And  we  trust, 
in  the  benignity  of  the  gracious  providence  of  God,  that  your  Majesty 
will  be  long  preserved  a  blessing  to  your  people,  the  great  promoter  of 
public  happiness  and  of  private  virtue,  and  the  patron  and  protector 
of  these  inestimable  privileges,  both  civil  and  sacred,  which  we  have, 
in  so  eminent  a  degree,  enjoyed  ever  since  the  illustrious  House  of 
Hanover  ascended  the  British  Throne."  The  address  was  signed 
by  the  three  BaiUes. 

When  the  renewal  of  the  East  India  Company's  charter,  in  1792, 
came  to  be  discussed  by  Parliament,  a  meeting  of  manufacturers, 
called  by  the  Magistrates,  was  held,  to  consider  how  they  might  be 
affected  by  that  measure.  They  unanimously  agreed  to  petition 
Parliament  not  to  renew  the  charter. 

A  petition  being  laid  before  the  Council  by  John  Gibb  and  Nisbet 
Sinclair,  vintners,  and  others,  for  liberty  to  erect  a  machine  to  weigh 
hay,  on  a  steading  in  Broomlands,  the  Council  agreed  to  grant  the 
same  (Council  Records,  1 7th  September,  1788).  This,  no  doubt, 
was  the  commencement  of  what  is  now  known  as  the  Hay  Weighs, 
in  King  Street,  at  the  present  time.  On  7th  October,  1791,  the 
Council  appointed  all  persons  within  the  burgh,  "who  have  lead 
weights,  in  the  sale  of  their  different  articles,  to  lay  them  aside,  and 
in  future  to  use  metal  (iron)  weights  in  their  stead."  At  the  same 
meeting,  they  also  ordained  "the  whole  of  the  potato  dishes, 
within  the  burgh,  to  be  adjusted  and  marked  by  James  Graham, 
cooper,  and  those  found  not  marked  to  be  seized."  On  7th 
October,  1795,  they  enacted,  "that  no  milk  in  town  shall  be  sold 
with  a  less  measure  than  one  of  the  four  gills  brandy  measure." 

It  was  in  1788  that  the  subject  of  the  abolition  of  the  slave  trade 
was  first  brought  under  the  notice  of  the  Council.  On  28th 
February,  in  that  year,  they  agreed  "to  petition  Parliament  for  the 
abolition  of  that  trade."  Four  years  afterwards,  this  subject  was 
again  brought  under  the  notice  of  the  Council,  when  the  Magistrates 
reported  that  they  had  been  requested  "  to  call  a  meeting  of  the 
inhabitants,  to  consider  of  the  abolition  of  the  slave  trade ;  and  in 
consequence  thereof,  they  had  warned  a  considerable  number  of 
the  inhabitants  to  meet  this  evening  in  the   Court  hall."      The 


1750    TILL    iSoO.  Si 

Council  unanimously  approved  of  the  Magistrates'  conduct  in  this 
matter. 

Sabbath  schools,  from  which  the  children  in  the  town  have  always 
derived  so  much  good,  were  first  established  in  1788.  At  a  meeting 
of  Council,  held  on  25th  January,  in  that  year,  there  was  laid  before 
the  members  "a  scheme  for  Sabbath  schools,  by  the  ministers  and 
members  of  the  Society  for  the  Reformation  of  Manners,"  and  they 
approved  of  the  same.  On  15th  February  following,  the  Council 
nominated  nine  gentlemen,  to  be  directors,  for  managing  Sabbath 
exercises.  It  was  not,  however,  it  appears,  till  ten  years  thereafter, 
that  an  energetic  society  was  constituted  for  the  management  of 
Sabbath  -  evening  schools.  The  promoters  of  it  first  met  in  November, 
1797.  On  26th  December  following,  they  had  another  meeting  in 
Mr.  Bell's  school -room,  Storie  Street,  and  afterwards  a  meeting  in 
the  Low  Church  Session -house,  on  5th  January,  1798,  when  rules 
were  agreed  to  "for  the  erection  and  support  of  Sabbath -evening 
schools  in  Paisley,''  and  also  "  rules  for  conducting  the  schools." 
The  first  rule  was,  "  the  sole  rule  of  these  schools  shall  be  religious 
instruction."  The  income  of  the  society,  for  the  first  year,  was 
derived  from  the  sums  collected  at  six  sermons,  delivered  in  the 
High  Church,  amounting  to  ;^ii9  8s.  5d.  One  of  the  sermons  was 
by  the  Rev.  Wm.  Terrier,  of  Oakshaw  Secession  Church,  on  ist 
July,  1 798,  and  it  was  afterwards  published  in  that  year,  at  the  request 
of  the  committee  for  directing  the  Sabbath  schools.  During  the  first 
year  of  the  society,  Mr.  Wm.  Carlile  was  preses,  and  J\lr.  Wm. 
M'Gavin,  secretary.  The  society  was  at  first  very  successful.  At 
the  commencement  there  were  1200  children  ;  at  the  end  of  April, 
in  that  year,  twenty  schools  and  1495  children,  and  in  September 
following,  1526  children.^ 

Letterpress  printing  was  commenced  in  Paisley  in  1769.  Prior 
to  that  time,  what  was  required  was  done  in  Glasgow,  where  the  art 
was  introduced  about  1630.  The  first  book  printed  in  Paisley 
was  entitled,  "  An  Essay  on  Christ's  Cross  and  Crown,  to  which  are 
subjoined  six  sermons,  by  the  Rev.  George  Muir,  minister  of  the 
Gospel,  at  Paisley ;  the  second  edition.  —  Paisley  :  Printed  by  Weir 
and  M'Lean,  and  sold  at  the  shop  of  A.  Weir,  near  the  Cross,  1769." 
Mr.  Muir  was  minister  of  the  High  Church  at  that  time.  In  that 
year  the  same  firm  printed  "Ascanius  —  the  third  edition  —  for 
James  Davidson  «Sc  Co.,  Fergusley,  near  Paisley."  Another  book  was 
printed  in  Paisley  in  this  year,  the  title  of  which  was,  "A  Prophecy 
concerning  the  Lord's  return  to  Scotland,  &c."  The  printer's  name 
is  not  given,  but  it  was  "  printed  for  and  sold  by  George  M'Kimmen, 
travelling  merchant,  1769."     The  Rev.  Thomas  Blackwell,  one  of 

^Appendix  to  two  sermons,  published  in  1798,  by  the  Rev.  Mr.  Ferrier, — 
the  one  being  the  sermon  ah-eady  referred  to,  and  the  other  relating  to  the  death 
of  his  colleague,  the  Rev.  Mr.  Elice. 


82  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY 

the  ministers  of  the  Abbey,  was  the  author  of  a  work  entitled, 
"  Schema  Sacra ;  or  sacred  scheme  of  natural  and  revealed  religion," 
which  was  also  printed  in  Paisley,  in  1769,  by  A.  Weir  and  A. 
M'Lean,  for  A.  Weir,  bookseller,  at  the  Cross.  A  work  entitled 
"  Dying  Thoughts,  by  the  late  Wm.  Crawford,"  was  also  printed  in  the 
same  year  by  that  firm,  and  for  the  same  bookseller.  In  1770,  and 
subsequent  years  to  the  end  of  the  century,  many  important  and 
valuable  books  and  pamphlets  came  from  the  Paisley  press.  The 
first  Paisley  Directory  was  combined  with  one  for  Glasgow  and 
several  other  towns.  It  was  published  by  John  Tait,  stationer, 
Glasgow,  and  was  entitled,  "  Directory  for  the  City  of  Glasgow  — 
villages  of  Anderston,  Calton,  and  Gorbals ;  also  for  the  towns  of 
Paisley,  Greenock,  Port- Glasgow,  and  Kilmarnock,  from  15th  May, 
1783,  to  15th  May,  1784."  There  is  only  one  copy  of  the  original 
now  remaining,  and  a  reprint  of  it  was  published  in  1871,  by  Robert 
Forrester,  Glasgow.  Mr.  Tait  did  not  publish  any  more  Directories. 
The  first  Directory  published  in  Scotland  was  for  Edinburgh,  in 
1773- 

Cotton  spinning,  so  extensively  carried  on  in  some  other  parts  of 
the  country  at  the  end  of  this  century,  was  commenced  in  Paisley 
in  1782.  This  industry,  however,  was  never  prosecuted  in  Paisley 
with  the  same  energy  and  spirit  as  some  other  trades.  At  the 
end  of  this  century  there  were  ten  mills  of  this  kind,  but  some  of 
them  were  small,  and  the  machinery  was  propelled  by  horse-power. 

Although  horse  racing  was  continued  yearly  in  this  period,  yet 
very  little  is  mentioned  regarding  it  in  the  Council  records.  At  the 
races  in  August,  1780,  a  melancholy  accident  happened.  One  of 
the  horses  fell  with  his  rider,  and  the  horse  that  was  coming  up  close 
behind  went  over  them,  and  the  man  was  so  much  bruised  that  he 
died  the  following  day.  Another  young  man,  who  was  looking  on, 
was  also  ridden  down.  He  had  his  skull  fractured,  one  of  his  legs 
broken,  and  was  otherwise  so  much  injured  that  he  died  also. 

The  following  is  a  copy  of  the  advertisement  in  the  newspapers, 
intimating  the  race  that  was  to  take  place  in  August,  1790  :  —  "A 
race  at  Paisley.  That  upon  Thursday,  the  26th  day  of  August 
instant,  there  is  to  be  run  for  over  the  ordinary  course,  for  ten 
guineas,  the  best  of  three  heats,  by  any  horse,  mare,  or  gelding,  who 
never  gained  a  fifty  pounds  prize.  The  horses  to  be  booked  at  Mr. 
Sinclair's,  Saracen's  Head,  at  ten  o'clock  that  day,  and  to  pay  ten 
shillings  and  sixpence  each  ;  and  the  race  to  start  precisely  at  twelve 
noon.  No  race  unless  three  horses  start.  There  will  also  be  after 
shots  by  the  beaten  horses.  Judges  will  be  appointed  for  the  race. 
Paisley,  7th  August,  1790." 

On  25th  January,  1793,  a  minute  of  Council  states  that  "it  was 
suggested  by  a  number  of  the  councillors,  that  the  present  course 
for  Saint  James  race  is  not  convenient  for  the  purpose,  on  account 


1750   TILL    1800.  83 

of  the  buildings.  The  whole  Council  is  appointed  as  a  committee 
to  examine  what  course  shall  be  most  proper  for  continuing  said 
race."  The  records  do  not  afterwards  show  whether  any  resolution 
was  come  to  regarding  the  improvement  or  changing  of  the  race 
course.  But  on  22nd  July  following,  "the  Council  agreed,  by  a 
majority  of  votes,  that  fhere  shall  be  no  race,  as  usual,  at  Saint 
James  Fair."  At  a  meeting  of  Council,  held  three  days  afterwards, 
"  a  petition  being  given  by  a  number  of  the  inhabitants,  praying  that 
the  Council  would  reconsider  the  last  act  of  Council  cancelling  the 
race  at  Saint  James  Fair,  and  to  allow  the  race  to  be  continued  as 
usual,  and  the  Council  considered  the  same ;  they,  by  a  majority  of 
votes,  agreed  to  receive  said  petition,  and  to  grant  the  desire  thereof, 
by  allowing  the  same  to  go  on  as  formerly ;  against  which  Bailie 
Patison  dissented,  and  adhered  to  the  act  superseding  the  race  at 
last  meeting."  At  the  same  meeting,  the  Council  appointed  "a 
committee  to  look  out  for  a  new  race  course,  and  to  report." 

Mr.  W.  Semple,  in  his  History  of  the  Shire  of  Renfrezu,  page  329, 
states  that,  "  on  Friday  following  St.  James  Day  Fair,  there  is  a 
horse  race  called  Son  James's  Race.  The  reason  for  this  was  that 
in  ancient  times  Lord  Scrapie's  family  gave  an  acre  of  land,  called 
the  green  acre,  lying  on  the  south  side  of  St.  James  Street,  the  rent 
of  which  to  pay  the  winner  of  the  race  his  prize,  and  the  race  for 
ever  to  be  called  Our  Son  James  Race."  No  ground  was  at  any 
time  gifted  by  Lord  Scrapie's  family  for  such  a  purpose.  This  was 
plainly  brought  out  at  a  subsequent  period  by  a  Town -Clerk  who 
was  well  qualified  to  speak  upon  the  subject.  At  a  meeting  of 
Council,  held  on  the  9th  August,  1842,  Mr.  Robert  Wilson,  town- 
clerk,  in  answer  to  an  inquiry  from  a  member  of  Council,  stated 
"  that  it  was  a  popular  error  to  suppose  that  ground  had  been 
bequeathed  to  the  Council  for  the  support  of  the  race  for  the 
Silver  Bells.  No  such  bequest  had  taken  place.  The  Bell 
Race,  however,  was  of  very  old  standing,  having  been  insti- 
tuted in  1608  by  the  Town  Council,  and  afterwards  remodelled 
by  them,  with  the  advice  of  the  Earl  of  Abercorn  (then  Lord 
Provost  of  the  Burgh),  Lord  Sempill,  Lord  Rose,  Lord  Blan- 
tyre,  and  other  nobles  residing  near  the  town.  Since  the  institution 
of  the  Bell  Race,  it  had  been  run  every  year,  with  few  exceptions, — 
the  Council  having  always  contributed  a  certain  sum  towards 
the  prize."  As  regards  the  name  of  the  race,  it  is  derived,  not  in 
the  way  stated  by  W.  Semple,  the  historian,  but  from  the  fact  that 
it  was  run  at  the  fair  of  St.  James.  We  have  hitherto  given  every 
authentic  particular  relating  to  the  establishment  and  conducting  of 
these  races  from  the  Council  records.  Mr.  Semple  appears  not  to 
have  consulted  these,  or  he  would  not  have  given  currency  to  such 
fables  as  the  bequest  of  the  green  acre  and  the  race  named  from 
"  our  son  James."  At  that  time,  the  race-course  consisted  of  the 
roads  round  about  the  piece  of  land  belonging  to  the  Council  called 
the  twenty-four  acres.     The  horses  were  started  in  Love  Street,  at 


§4  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

the  east  end  of  Springbank  or  Shambles  Road,  thence  they  ran  along 
Love  Street,  Saint  James  Street,  Caledonia  Street,  to  the  Shambles 
Road,  and  so  returned  to  Love  Street.^ 

The  year  1782  was  distinguished  by  a  wonderful  inundation  of 
the  river  Cart.  Every  winter  there  were  floods  or  spates  in  the 
river  to  some  extent,  but  that  which  took  place  on  Tuesday,  12th 
March,  1782,  was  the  most  remarkable  for  magnitude  in  the  annals 
of  the  town.  During  several  days  previously  there  had  been  a  con- 
tinuous fall  of  snow  and  rain  in  the  districts  surrounding  the  upper 
reaches  of  the  Cart.  On  the  day  mentioned  the  water  was  at  its 
height.  Unfortunately,  we  are  without  any  detailed  information  as 
to  the  effect  of  the  flood  on  the  town  and  the  injury  it  did.  Mr. 
William  Semple,  the  historian,  to  whom  we  have  been  indebted  in 
several  instances  for  information,  published  his  work  in  1782  ;  and 
although  in  some  cases  he  is  sufficiently  particular,  and  even  gar- 
rulous about  unimportant  things,  yet  regarding  this  occurrence  he  is 
painfully  laconic.  All  he  states  is,  that  "in  March  12th,  1782,  the 
to\\Ti  was  visited  with  an  inundation  of  water.  The  river  was  fifteen 
inches  higher  than  in  the  year  1712."  We  are,  however,  so  far 
fortunate  that  we  have  at  the  present  day  an  excellent  landmark, 
which  plainly  shows  the  height  the  water  attained  on  that  memor- 
able day.  On  the  wall  of  the  meal-house  of  the  Seedhill  IMill,- 
fronting  the  public  street,  the  exact  height  of  the  flood  is  marked  in 
these  words  : — 

"Height  of  flood  here,  on  the  12th  March,  17S2." 

This  graving  out  of  the  solid,  is  at  least  five  feet  above  the  level 
of  the  street.  That  height  of  water  throughout  the  lower  parts  of 
the  town  must  have  done  much  damage,  and  subjected  many  to 

^  The  following  advertisement  appeared  in  the  Glasgow  Mercury  of  20th 
August,  1778  : — "  There  is  a  race  to  be  run  upon  the  ordinary  course  of  the  Muir 
of  Renfrew,  upon  Friday,  the  28th  of  August  instant,  for  the  sum  of  one  guinea  to 
the  first  and  half-a-guinea  to  the  second  horse,  mare  or  gelding.  To  start  at  12 
o'clock  mid-day.  Likewise,  a  foot  race,  at  1 1  o'clock  said  day.  There  will  also 
be  an  after-shot  race.  The  articles  of  the  race  to  be  seen  in  the  hands  of  the 
Town-Clerk  of  Renfrew  any  time  betwixt  and  the  day  of  the  race.  N.B. — The 
Magistrates  to  be  judges  of  the  race." 

Glasgcnv  Courier,  29th  September,  1798. — "  Yesterday,  one  Spence,  a  Chairman 
in  Paisley,  undertook  to  decide  a  bet  of  twenty  guineas  between  some  gentlemen 
in  Glasgow  and  Paisley,  by  nmning  from  the  Cross  of  Paisley  to  the  Cross  of 
Glasgow,  and  thence  again  to  the  Cross  of  Paisley,  a  distance  of  fifteen  and 
a -half  miles,  in  one  hour  and  thirty-five  minutes,  being  at  the  rate  of  ten  miles 
an  hour,  which  he  lost  only  by  five  minutes.  This  extraordinary  undertaking  he 
could  have  accomplished  within  the  time,  but  for  the  high  wind  and  the  badness 
of  the  road,  which  had  been  undergoing  alterations  and  repairs." 

2  On'^the  i8th  October,  1799,  the  Seedhill  Mills  were,  except  the  large  water 
wheel,  "entirely  destroyed  by  fire,  notwithstanding  the  exertions  of  a  multitude  of 
people,  who  tried  to  extinguish  the  flames.  The  water  wheel  was  presented  by 
admitting  the  water,  which  kept  it  in  motion,  and  prevented  the  flames  from 
affecting  it." 


175°    TILL    1800.  85 

distress.     Several  bleachfields  in  the  neighbourhood  were  overflowed 
by  the  water,  and  a  considerable  quantity  of  goods  was  carried  away.^ 

The  Infirmary,  that  noble  and  beneficial  institution,  was  first 
commenced  as  a  dispensary  ;  and  the  first  meeting  of  its  promoters, 
of  which  the  following  are  the  minutes,  was  held  on  i8th  April,  1786. 
"This  day  a  meeting  of  some  of  the  principal  inhabitants  was  held, 
to  consider  a  proposal  by  some  of  the  medical  gentlemen,  for 
establishing  a  General  Dispensary  for  the  Town  of  Paisley  and 
Abbey  Parish  —  Andrew  Brown,  Esq.,  preses.  The  proposal  being 
read,  was  unanimously  approved,  and  a  considerable  sum  subscribed 
towards  defraying  the  expense  of  the  charity.  The  meeting 
appointed  the  following  gentlemen,  viz. :  —  Messrs.  Andrew  Brown, 
Robert  Fulton,  James  Lowndes,  James  Wilson,  writer,  Robert 
Cross,  James  Hay,  and  Robert  Orr,  a  committee,  to  commune  with 
the  medical  gentlemen,  and  draw  a  proper  plan  for  the  management 
of  the  dispensary  ;  to  be  reported  at  the  first  general  meeting."  It 
will  thus  be  seen  that  the  medical  gentlemen  of  that  day  have  the 
credit  and  honour  of  proposing  the  establishment  of  this  useful 
institution.  The  first  general  meeting  was  held  in  the  Court-house, 
on  the  5th  May  following,  when  the  committee  appointed  at  the 
previous  meeting,  "reported  the  follomng  plan  for  managing  the 
medical  department  of  the  charity :  —  That  a  convenient  and  central 
place,  consisting  of  two  apartments  —  one  for  preparing  the 
medicines,  and  the  other  for  a  consulting  room,  being  provided, 
and  a  set  of  instruments,  and  a  stock  of  medicine  being  purchased, 
and  a  proper  person  being  hired  for  dispensing  the  medicines, 
according  to  the  prescriptions  of  the  physicians  and  surgeons.  The 
surgeons  shall  take  charge  of  the  charity  quarterly,  by  rotation,  and 
physicians  through  the  year.  That  one  of  the  surgeons  and  the 
physicians  shall  attend  at  the  Dispensary  every  Tuesday  and  Friday 
morning,  from  nine  to  ten  o'clock,  to  give  advice  to  such  patients 
as  are  able  to  come  to  the  Dispensary.  That  the  patients  who  are 
confined  shall  be  visited  at  their  own  houses.  It  being  understood 
that  the  physician  and  surgeon  are  not  obliged  to  visit  any  beyond 
the  limits  of  the  town  and  suburbs.  That  the  Dispensary  shall  be 
open  every  day  from  nine  o'clock  in  the  morning  to  eight  o'clock  at 
night,  for  the  reception  of  certificates.  That  the  ofticiating  surgeon 
shall,  at  least  a  week  before  his  quarter  ends,  make  the  succeeding 
surgeon  acquainted  with  the  state  of  the  patients.  And  if  any 
principal  operation  has  been  performed,  and  the  patient  not  cured 
at  the  end  of  the  quarter,  the  surgeon  who  performed  the  operation 
shall  continue  his  attendance  till  the  cure  is  completed ;  in  like 
manner,  if  there  is  any  particular  case  at  the  end  of  a  quarter,  the 

^  "I  was  present  in  the  year  1782,  when  the  great  flood  of  Clyde  overflowed 
the  whole  of  the  lower  parts  of  the  city  [of  Glasgow],  and  beheld  boats  navigating 
the  Bridgegate,  and  ascending  King  Street  above  the  markets,  to  the  great 
wonder  and  terror  of  the  inhabitants  "  (Old  Glasgow  and  its  Environs,  by  Senex 
[Robert  Reid],  p.  119. 


86  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

surgeon  who  treated  it  formerly,  shall  attend  with  the  ordinary 
surgeon,  if  necessary ;  if  the  officiating  surgeon  is  obliged  to  be 
absent,  he  shall  call  the  next  in  rotation  to  attend  the  Dispensary 
till  his  return.  That  it  shall  be  in  the  power  of  the  physician  and 
officiating  surgeon  to  call  one  other  to  their  assistance,  when  they 
think  proper,  and  they  shall  attend  at  every  consultation.  That 
the  patients  shall  be  obliged  to  conform  to  the  rules  drawn  up  for 
their  regulation,  during  their  attendance  in  the  Dispensary."  This 
sensible  and  practical  report  is  signed  by  Wm.  Farquharson, 
physician,  and  John  White,  Robert  Thyme,  and  David  Wardrop, 
surgeons.  The  committee  also  submitted  the  following  regulations 
to  the  consideration  of  the  meeting:  —  "ist,  That  no  subscription 
under  5s.  shall  be  received ;  but  as  many  people  who  are  willing  to 
subscribe  may  choose  to  contribute,  there  shall  be  an  annual 
collection  at  the  house  of  non- subscribers.  2nd,  Every  subscriber 
shall  be  entitled  to  have  one  patient  on  the  books  at  a  time,  for 
every  los.  he  subscribes.  Two  subscribers  of  5s.  each  shall  likewise 
be  entitled  to  have  a  patient  on  the  books.  3rd,  Every  person  who 
subscribes  £1  stg.  annually,  shall  be  entitled  to  be  elected  a 
manager.  4th,  Every  person  who  subscribes  ;£2>  3S-  annually,  shall 
be  a  perpetual  manager.  5th,  The  Dispensary  shall  be  under  the 
direction  of  the  perpetual  managers,  the  physician  and  surgeons 
of  the  charity,  and  eighteen  subscribers  chosen  annually.  These 
eighteen  elected  managers  shall  form  themselves  into  three 
committees,  of  equal  numbers,  for  the  constant  management  of  the 
Dispensary,  each  of  the  committees  to  act  four  months  at  a  time  by 
rotation.  The  other  managers  to  be  members  of  all  committees, 
and  to  have  the  same  power  as  those  who  are  elected.  The 
committees  shall  appoint  their  own  meetings.  6th,  There  shall  be 
an  annual  general  meeting  the  second  Tuesday  of  May,  for  the 
election  of  managers  and  the  inspection  of  the  books  of  the  charity. 
7th,  At  least  fourteen  days  before  the  election,  the  printed  lists  of 
those  who  are  entitled  to  become  managers,  shall  be  furnished  to 
the  subscribers,  who,  on  the  day  of  election,  shall  give  in  signed 
lists  of  such  gentlemen  as  they  choose  managers,  and  these  lists  shall 
be  referred  to  the  preses  and  two  gentlemen  named  by  the  meeting, 
as  scrutineers,  to  declare  on  whom  the  election  has  fallen.  The 
state  of  the  votes  to  be  secret,  unless  a  scrutiny  is  demanded.  8th, 
Each  subscriber  shall  have  a  vote  for  every  los.  he  subscribes, 
9th,  Ladies  may  vote  by  proxy ;  and  noblemen  and  gentlemen  not 
residing  in  town,  may  vote  and  recommend  patients  by  a  proxy 
given  to  any  subscriber.  loth.  The  apothecary  shall  be  balloted 
for  at  the  first  general  meeting,  and  be  continued  in  office  while  he 
behaves  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  managers.  The  agreement  with 
him  shall  be  such,  that  the  managers  shall  have  it  in  their  power  to 
turn  him  off  in  case  of  misconduct,  on  paying  him  a  month's  wages. 
On  the  other  hand,  he  shall  engage  for  a  year  certain  from  the  time 
of  his  first  election,  and  thereafter  be  obliged  to  give  two  months' 
warning  to  the  managers,  before  leaving  his  place.     In  the  event  of 


175°   TILL    1800.  87 

a  vacancy,  a  general  meeting  shall  be  called,  for  the  purpose  of 
balloting  for  another  apothecary,  nth,  Every  question  shall  be 
determined  by  a  fair  majority  of  votes,  the  preses  for  the  time  being 
to  have  the  casting  vote.  1 2th,  To  prevent  the  charity  from  being 
abused,  no  patient  shall  be  entitled  to  the  benefit  of  it  without  a 
certificate  from  a  subscriber ;  and  if  it  appears  that  such  subscriber 
has  willingly  recommended  an  improper  object,  he  shall  be  obliged 
to  refund  the  expenses  incurred  by  his  certificate,  or  be  deprived  of 
the  privilege  of  recommending  one  patient  for  the  remainder  of  the 
year.  13th,  To  prevent  confusion  in  admitting  patients,  printed 
tickets,  signed  by  one  of  the  managers,  shall  be  delivered  to  every 
subscriber,  in  proportion  to  his  subscription ;  and  when  he  sends  a 
patient  to  the  Dispensary,  he  shall  enclose  one  of  his  tickets  in  a 
letter,  purporting  that  he  has  given  the  bearer  the  benefit  of  the 
enclosed  ticket.  This  letter  he  shall  sign,  seal,  and  send  to  the 
apothecary,  by  the  patient,  and  the  ticket  shall  be  returned  to  the 
owner  when  the  patient  is  dismissed.  14th,  The  apothecary  shall 
keep  books,  for  the  purpose  of  entering  the  patients'  names,  by 
whom  recommended,  diseases,  and  treatment  when  under  cure. 
He  shall  keep  a  daily  account  of  the  medicines  used,  to  be  compared 
with  two  inventories  —  one  taken  at  the  beginning  of  the  year,  and 
the  other  at  the  end.  He  shall,  likewise,  keep  an  exact  account  of 
the  general  expenses  of  the  charity.  The  books  shall  be  open  at 
all  times  to  the  inspection  of  the  managers,  and  be  annually  laid 
before  the  general  meeting.  15th,  A  list  of  the  subscribers,  and 
general  state  of  the  patients  and  funds  of  the  charity,  shall  be 
published  annually."  The  meeting  unanimously  approved  of  these 
most  excellent  rules,  some  of  which  are  in  force  at  the  present 
time,  and  ordered  them  to  be  printed  for  the  information  of  the 
pubhc. 

The  next  general  meeting  was  held  on  the  27th  of  the  same 
month  (May),  when  the  following  managers  were  elected, —  printed 
lists  having  previously  been  delivered  to  the  subscribers  : — 

Messrs.  John  Wilson, 

Robert  Fulton, 

Claud  Neilson,      \  Perpetual  Managers. 

James  Lowndes, 

Robert  Corse, 

Messrs.  Andrew  Brown.  Messrs.  Robert  Hunter. 

Herbert  Buchanan.  Robert  Boog. 

James  Hay.  John  Orr. 

James  Wilson,  writer.  John  Pollock. 

William  Stewart.  James  Mylne. 

John  Bell.  James  Kibble. 

John  Young.  Alexander  Gibson. 

John  Christie.  Thomas  Caldwell. 

Charles  Maxwell.  Thomas  Kibble. 

The  meeting  then  proceeded  to  elect  an  apothecary,  by  ballot. 


88  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

There  were  two  candidates,  Mr.  Winning  of  Paisley  and  Mr.  Brown 
of  Edinburgh,  when  the  former  was  chosen,  —  his  salary  to  be  ;^25 
per  annum,  without  board.  The  medical  gentlemen  reported  to  the 
meeting  that  they  had  purchased  the  medicine  and  shop  utensils  of 
the  late  Mr.  Gibson,  surgeon,  for  the  use  of  the  Dispensary,  for 
p^'45  ;  and  of  this  the  meeting  approved.^  The  managers  resolved 
to  open  the  Dispensary,  and  desired  the  preses  to  ask  the  Rev. 
Mr.  Finlay  to  preach  on  that  occasion.  The  next  meeting  of  the 
managers  was  held  in  the  session-house  of  the  High  Church,  on  6th 
June  following,  immediately  after  the  sermon  by  Mr.  Finlay.  At 
this  meeting,  BaiUe  Brown  was  elected  preses  and  convener  for  the 
year;  Mr.  James  Hogg,  treasurer;  and  there  was  a  unanimous 
vote  of  thanks  passed  to  Mr.  Finlay  for  his  sermon.  The  Dispensary 
required  two  rooms,  but  the  minutes  do  not  state  in  what  part  of  the 
town  they  were  situated  ;  all  they  state  is  that  they  were  in  premises 
belonging  to  John  Love,  Esq. 

The  number  of  patients  admitted  from  ist  June, 

1786,  to  ist  June,  1787,  was  ...  ...       337 

Of  whom  there  were  cured,  ...  ...       230 

Relieved,     ...         ...         ...         ...         ...  4 

Dismissed   for  irregularity  or   as   deserted 

and  improper, ...  ...  ...  ...  6 

^  Died,  ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         49 

Remain  under  cure,  ...         ...         ...         48 

337 

The  managers  divided  themselves  into  committees  to  attend  to  the 
Dispensary  ;  and  at  a  meeting  of  committee,  held  on  13th  June  fol- 
lowing, at  the  suggestion  "  of  the  physician  and  surgeons  that  some 
wine  and  porter  would  be  needed  for  the  patients,"  ordered  such  to 
be  bought.  At  the  general  meeting,  held  on  loth  June,  1788,  the 
Rev.  Mr.  Boog,  of  the  Abbey  Church,  was  elected  preses  and  con- 
vener for  the  current  year.  In  January,  1789,  an  additional  small 
room,  at  the  annual  rent  of  p/^i,  was  taken  from  Mr.  Love.  At  a 
meeting,  held  on  i8th  May,  1789,  the  following  was  reported  as  the 
state  of  the  patients  during  the  past  year  :  —  "  Cured,  220  ;  reheved, 
27;  died,  47  ;  found  incurable,  2  ;  dismissed  for  irregularities,  7; 
and  remaining  on  the  books,  38.  In  that  year,  Mr.  Hogg  having 
resigned  his  treasurership,  choice  was  made  of  Mr.  James  Wilson, 
writer,  in  his  place.  The  statement  regarding  patients  under  treat- 
ment for  the  year  1789-90  was  as  follows  : — Cured,  260;  relieved, 
16;  died  (of  whom  21  were  incurable  when  admitted),  33;  and 
remain  on  the  books,  56;  in  all,  365."  In  October,  1791,  Mr. 
Winning,  apothecary,  having  resigned  in  order  to  attend  the  Medical 
College  at  Glasgow,  Mr.  John  Holmes  was  elected  to  succeed  him, 

^  Mr.  Gibson  was  a  brother  of  Mr.  Gibson,  town-clerk  at  that  time,  and  his 
place  of  business  was  at  the  Cross. 

^  Of  this  number,  30  were  either  far  gone  in  consumption,  or  had  been  for- 
merly dismissed  from  different  hospitals. 


1750   TILL    1800.  89 

at  the  same  salary.  He  resigned  in  1795,  ^-nd  Mr.  Rodman  was 
chosen  as  his  successor,  at  the  same  salary.  Mr.  Graham  and  Mr. 
Paton  were  also  candidates  for  the  situation.  On  13th  June,  1796, 
Mr.  Wilson,  treasurer,  reported  to  a  meeting  of  managers  that  the 
expenditure  during  the  past  year  had  been  ^276  12s.,  and  that 
there  was  a  balance  against  the  Dispensary  of  ^65  13s.  iid. 
This  is  the  first  annual  statement  of  income  and  expenditure 
given  in  the  minutes.  The  first  reference  to  the  funds  is  to  be 
found  in  the  yearly  statement  for  1791,  when  the  balance  of  cash  on 
hand  was  ^70  i8s.  7d.  ;  in  1792  it  was  ^68  13s.  8d. ;  in  1793, 
;^8o  2S.  lod.;  in  1794,  ^96  13s.  iid.;  and  in  1795,  ;^92  15s.  2d. 
The  statement  as  to  the  patients  for  the  year  1795-6  was  as  follows: 
— Cured,  380  ;  relieved,  70  ;  incurable,  9  ;  dismissed,  5  ;  left  the 
town,  4  ;  went  to  the  poorhouse,  i ;  dead  (of  whom  ^2  were  incur- 
able when  admitted),  46  ;  remaining  on  the  books,  16 ;  in  all,  531. 
In  September,  1796,  Mr.  Rodman,  apothecary,  resigned.  He 
stated,  "  in  consequence  of  the  great  number  of  patients  admitted 
to  the  benefit  of  the  charity  during  the  last  winter,  he  had  been  sub- 
jected to  an  extraordinary  degree  of  labour,  and  requesting  that  such 
an  acknowledgment  should  be  made  to  him  as  the  directors  might 
think  reasonable.'"  They  agreed  to  allow  him  ^10  in  addition  to 
his  salary.  Mr.  \\'illiam  Hepburn  was  elected  apothecary.  The 
subscriptions  for  1797-8  were  ;^  189  is.  6d,  and  the  expenditure, 
£146  9s.  6d.,  leaving  a  balance  of  ;^42  13s.;  which,  with  ;!^io 
3s.  9d.  of  a  balance  of  the  previous  year,  made  the  sum  in  the  trea- 
surer's hands  to  be  ^50  14s.  9d.  In  January,  1799,  an  apparatus 
for  the  recovery  of  persons  immersed  in  water  was  ordered  from 
London.  In  July,  1799,  the  apothecary  reported  that,  of  the 
patients  treated  during  the  past  year,  95  had  been  cured,  8  relieved, 
18  had  died,  and  7  had  left  the  town,  while  36  remained  on  the 
books;  in  all,  164.  In  October,  1799,  Mr.  Hepburn,  apothecary, 
resigned,  and  Mr.  David  Black  was  elected  in  his  place. 

Prior  to  1783  there  was  no  banking  estabhshment  in  Paisley, — 
all  business  in  that  way  having  been  done  through  banks  in  Glasgow. 
In  that  year,  however,  the  Paisley  Banking  Company  was  estab- 
lished, and  the  following  is  a  copy  of  the  advertisement  in  the  news- 
papers announcing  its  commencement  of  business  : — 

"  1st  October,  1783. — The  under-mentioned  gentlemen,  viz.: — 
Andrew  Thomson  of  Faskine, 

TT    ^^T.T-  ^  "^      '  [■  Merchants  in  Glasgow, 

Hugh  Niven,  >  °     ' 

John  M'Kerrell  of  Hillhouse, 

Robert  Fulton, 

Ckud^  Neibon,  ("Merchants  in  Paisley, 

James  Lowndes,  and 
Robert  Corse, 

Beg  leave  to  intimate  that  they  have  commenced  the  business  of 

G 


90  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

banking  in  the  town  of  Paisley,  under  the  fimi  of  the  Paisley 
Banking  Company  ;  and  that  an  obligation  is  this  day  registered  in 
the  Borough  Court  books  of  Paisley,  obligating  themselves  to  pay 
all  notes  and  bills  issued  under  the  foresaid  firm,  and  signed  by 
James  Hogg,  cashier." 

On  ist  October,  1785,  Andrew  Thomson  of  Faskine,  George  Thom- 
son, and  Hugh  Niven  retired  from  the  company  ;  but  the  other  six 
partners  belonging  to  Paisley  remained.  In  1789  there  was  a 
forgery  on  the  notes  of  the  company,  and  a  man  of  the  name  of 
Provan,  belonging  to  the  parish  of  Dreghorn,  was  committed  to 
Paisley  Prison  for  being  concerned  in  circulating  them. 

In  May,  1788,  another  banking  company  was  formed,  —  the 
Union  Bank,  Paisle)\  The  first  partners  were  George  Houston,  of 
Johnstone  ;  John  Semple,  of  Earnock ;  Charles  Maxwell,  of  Merks- 
worth ;  James  Henderson,  of  Enochbank,  Glasgow ;  Charles 
Addison,  of  Woodhead;  John  Cochran,  Robert  Orr,  and  John 
Christie,  merchants  in  Paisley;  and  John  Duguid,  merchant, 
Glasgow.  The  first  cashier  was  Mr.  John  Likly.  In  November, 
1 791,  a  parcel  containing  notes  of  the  Paisley  Union  Bank,  to  the 
amount  of  ^500,  was  abstracted  from  the  London  mail  coach, 
between  London  and  Carlisle. 

The  first  map  of  Paisley  was  published  in  1781,  by  W.  Semple, 
author  of  Semple' s  Contiimation  of  Crawfiird's  History  of  the  Shire 
of  Renfrnv}  As  this  plan,  with  its  numerous  illustrations,  is  very 
valuable  and  interesting,  we  give  a  copy  of  it. 

In  1782,  the  Magistrates  and  Council  "found  it  necessary  to 
take  down  the  bridge  betwixt  the  town  and  Smithhills,  on  account 
of  its  decayed  state,  and  to  rebuild  the  same  wider  than  formerly." 
The  bridge  recently  improved  was  then  erected,  at  an  expense  of 
";^779  5s.  1 1  ^d.,  of  which  the  Council  received  ^350  stg.  from  the 
Trustees  on  the  Turnpike  roads ;  and  the  remainder,  being  ^^429 
5s.  ii^d.,  was  paid  out  of  the  town's  funds"  (Council Records^  2nd 
August,  1783).  The  plan  of  the  new  bridge  was  drawn  by  James 
Brown,  architect,  Kilbarchan  (Coimcil Records,  25th  January,  1782). 
The  arches  of  the  pen  bridge  were  then  stated  to  be  each  forty-six 
feet  wide  and  thirty -six  feet  high,  and  the  bridge  twenty -nine  feet 
broad  at  the  east  end,  and  twenty-five  feet  broad  at  the  west  end."^ 

^  William  Semple  was  born  at  Kaimhill,  in  the  Parish  of  Kilbarchan,  on  29th 
April,  1747.  He  received  his  education  at  the  Parish  School  of  Kilbarchan, 
where  he  also  learned  mensuration.  On  leaving  the  school,  he  carried  on  there 
the  business  of  a  land  surveyor  for  several  years,  and  frequently  acted  as  an 
architect.  He  afterwards  removed  to  Paisley,  where  he  carried  on  the  same 
business.  Some  time  after  the  publication  of  his  history,  he  went  to  America 
to  live  with  his  brother,  and  never  returned. 

"  The  following  advertisement  appeared  in  the  Glasgow  Mercury  of  6th 
December,  1781:  —  A  bridge  to  be  built.  The  Magistrates  and  Council  of 
Paisley  ]-)ropose  to  take  down,  and  rebuild,  the  bridge  betwixt  the  town  and 
Smithhills,  agreeable  to  a  plan  lying  in  the  Town  Clerk's  Chamber  for  inspection. 
Such  as  incline  to  undertake  this  work,  are  desired  to  lodge  their  proposals  in 
the  hands  of  Alex.  Gibson,  Town  Clerk,  immediately. 


^=r- 


I 


1750   TILL    1800.  91 

In  1785,  the  practice  of  vagrant  begging  had  increased  to  such  a 
degree  in  the  country  parishes,  that  a  petition  was  presented  to  the 
Justices  at  the  May  Quarter  Session,  signed  by  farmers  and  other 
inhabitants  in  many  of  the  parishes,  praying  them  to  interpose  their 
authority  to  stop  the  nuisance.  After  agreeing  that  the  different 
parishes  should  arrange  to  support  their  own  poor,  the  Justices 
resolved  that  vagrant  beggars  should  be  prevented  strolling  through 
the  country ;  and  to  carry  their  resolution  out,  appointed  a 
number  of  respectable  farmers,  and  other  inhabitants,  in  each 
parish,  to  assist  the  constables  in  apprehending  every  vagrant  who 
should,  after  the  8th  of  August,  be  found  begging  in  the  country 
(Glasgow  Mercury). 

The  streets  in  Paisley  were  certainly  in  a  bad  condition  during 
the  period  we  are  considering  ;  but  the  roads  in  the  county, 
including  those  leading  into  the  town,  were  even  worse.  The 
county  roads  were  maintained  under  the  Acts  of  Charles  II.  and 
George  I.,  called  the  statute  labour  acts,  by  which  Justices  of  Peace 
were  authorised  to  call  out  the  tenants,  cottars,  and  servants,  with 
their  horses,  carts,  and  implements,  for  six  days  yearly,  to  make  and 
repair  the  highways  in  the  county.  These  acts  were  found, 
however,  to  be  very  ineffectual.  In  1753,  a  turnpike  act  was 
obtained,  followed  by  two  other  acts,  for  building  a  bridge  at 
Inchinnan,  and  for  making  roads  from  Glasgow  to  Greenock,  and 
from  the  three-mile  house  to  Clark's  bridge  on  the  Beith  road. 
These  roads  were  made  about  seventeen  years  thereafter.  The 
statute  labour  was  reserved  for  the  cross  and  parochial  roads,  which 
were  almost  impassable,  and  quite  unfit  for  carriages.  Wheel 
carriages  were  not  then  used;  for  so  late  as  1770,  hme,  coal,  grain, 
&c.,  were  generally  carried  on  horses'  backs  (Wilson's  View  of 
Refifreio  shire,  p.  177).  Prior  to  the  erection  of  a  bridge  at  Inchinnan, 
in  1759,  the  White  Cart  and  the  Black  Cart  were  only  crossed  at 
that  part  by  ferries  and  fords  \  and  the  traffic  between  Paisley  and 
Greenock  was  by  Inchinnan,  until  Barnsford  bridge  was  built  in 
1793.  Some  pedestrians,  to  secure  a  shorter  road  than  that  by 
Inchinnan,  went  through  Paisley  Moss,  and  crossed  the  Gryfife  at 
Barnsford,  by  the  ford  or  ferry  there.  The  Town  Council 
contributed  '•'■;£\oo  towards  the  building  of  the  bridge  at  Barnsford," 
and  also  agreed  "  to  become  assignees  on  this  road,  along  with  the 
other  trustees,  for  making  and  repairing  the  same"  (Council Records, 
2ist  January,  1793). 

We  do  not  know  when  carriers  first  commenced  to  trade  regularly 
between  Paisley  and  Glasgow;  but  in  1783,  a  carrier  started  daily 
from  Findlay's,  Trongate  (Taifs  Directory).  And  in  the  same 
year,  we  read  that  "A  Paisley  diligence  sets  out  from  Pinkerton's  and 
Dunbar's,  Trongate,  twice  every  day  but  Sabbath"  (Taifs  Directory). 
The  Council,  it  appears,  had  some  kind  of  houses  for  protecting 
coaches,  for  on  the  30th  December,  1793,  they  agreed  "to  set  the 


92  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

town's  shades  for  coaches,  at  thirty  shillings  each,  or  as  much  more 
as  can  be  got  for  them,  and  authorise  the  magistrates  to  make 
the  bargain." 

The  inhabitants  derived  their  supply  of  water,  for  domestic 
purposes,  almost  entirely  from  public  wells,  situated  in  different 
parts  of  the  town.  Some  proprietors  of  houses  had  a  well  of  their 
own  at  the  "  yaird  fit,"  but  of  these  there  were  not  many.  The 
wells  throughout  the  town  appear  usually  to  have  been  sufficiently 
numerous  to  meet  the  moderate  demands  of  the  inhabitants,  who 
did  not  then  require  it  for  baths  and  other  purposes  which,  at  the 
present  time,  are  deemed  indispensable.  The  Burgh  records  do 
not  refer  to  any  scarcity  of  water  being  felt  by  the  inhabitants, 
except  in  one  instance,  when  a  petition  was  presented  to  the 
Council,  from  the  "  inhabitants  and  burgesses  in  Moss  raw,  repre- 
senting that  they  are  frequently  much  straitened  for  Avant  of  water, 
and  craving,  therefore,"  that  they  would  open  the  "  old  well "  at  Mr. 
Gibson's  tenement.  The  Council  "  agreed  to  do  the  same,  and  for 
that  end  allow  any  of  the  neighbours  that  pleases  to  contribute 
what  they  think  proper,  —  and  recommend  to  the  Bailies,  wholly  or 
severally,  to  see  this  act  put  in  operation"  (Council  Records,  30th 
June,  1 7 13).  It  would  appear  that  prior  to  1780,  the  wells  were 
mostly  dipping  or  draw  wells,  and  it  was  after  that  period  that 
pumps  were  attached  to  them.  At  anyrate,  it  was  only  at  that  time 
that  pumps,  in  connection  with  wells,  are  referred  to ;  and 
occasionally  the  Council,  with  the  view  of  aiding  the  inhabitants  in 
obtaining  water  more  readily,  supplied  pumps.  On  5th  June,  1787, 
the  Council  agreed  "to  give  a  pump  to  Sneddon  well,  the  inhabi- 
tants always  preparing  the  well  in  suitable  manner  for  it."  On  17th 
September,  1792,  the  inhabitants  in  West  Street,  being  about  to  dig 
a  well  there,  petitioned  the  Council  to  supply  them  with  a  pump, 
"  they  agreed  to  do  so  when  a  sufificiency  of  water  "  was  found.  At 
the  same  meeting,  the  Council  agreed  "  to  allow  Bailie  Smith,  and 
others,  ^\  i6s.  for  a  house  to  the  well  at  the  head  of  Causeyside." 
On  22nd  September,  1794,  "the  Council  appoint  the  Master  of 
Works  to  examine  the  pumps  in  town,  to  see  how  far  one  can  be 
spared  to  a  new  dug  well  in  Castle  Street ;  and  if  none  can  be 
spared,  to  provide  a  new  one  ;  and  at  same  time,  they  allow  ^2  2s. 
for  a  house  to  the  well."  On  30th  November,  1795,  the  Council 
agreed  "  to  give  the  inhabitants  in  John  Street  a  pump  to  the  well 
that  they  are  setting  down,  and  to  sell  the  old  pump  at  west  steeple 
well,  as  it  has  gone  out  of  use."  "  At  the  Seedhill  Mill  there  is  a 
good  spring  well,  the  pump  under  lock  and  key,  being  particular  for 
its  taste  and  smell,  and  used  as  a  remedy  for  several  diseases." 
(W.  Semple's  History,  p.  289). 

In  1778,  the  Council  contemplated  applying  to  Parhament  for  an 
act  to  accomplish  certain  police  improvements,  and  to  obtain  powers 
to  provide  a  supply  of  water.  On  the  ist  September  in  that  year, 
they    actually    resolved    "  to    apply    to    Parliament    for    an    act 


1750    'iILL    1800.  93 

authorising  them  to  bring  in  water  for  supplying  the  town,  hghting 
and  paving  the  streets,  and  other  purposes.'"'  This  important 
resolution,  however,  is  not  referred  to  again. 

The  Council,  on  2Sth  September,  1799,  fixed  the  entry  of 
burgesses  as  follows  :  —  A  stranger,  ;^3  6s.  8d. ;  a  person  who  has 
married  a  burgess's  daughter,  j£i  iis.  6d.;  eldest  son  of  a  burgess, 
IDS.  6d.;  each  younger  son  of  a  burgess,  ;£i  is.;  stallinger  fine  for 
not  entering  a  burgess,  los.  6d.  No  alteration  was  afterwards  made 
on  these  rates.  During  the  latter  half  of  the  century,  the  freedom 
of  the  town  was  not  conferred  on  any  person. 

The  birth-day  of  George  III.,  on  4th  June,  was  always  held  as  a 
day  of  rejoicing  by  the  inhabitants,  and  was  celebrated  in  a  variety 
of  ways.  In  1768,  W.  Semple  states,  that  "all  the  weavers  in  the 
town  and  suburbs  formed  themselves  under  a  committee,  parading 
through  the  town  in  grand  procession,  with  captains  and  all  other 
inferior  officers,  in  form  of  a  regiment  of  soldiers,  only  not  in  the 
military  dress,  and  under  a  head  captain  in  lieu  of  a  colonel.  Their 
brilliant  appearance  was  equal  to  anything  of  the  kind  ever  seen  in 
Scotland.  They  have  their  procession  once  in  three  years."  The 
Magistrates  and  Council  also  invariably  celebrated  the  King's  birth- 
day. On  the  previous  night,  a  committee  generally  met  in  the 
Saracen's  Head  Inn,  to  make  the  punch  to  be  used  on  the  following 
day;  and  the  expenses  then  incurred  varied  from  15s.  to  double 
that  sum.  The  toast  of  the  King's  health,  and  sometimes  others, 
were  drunk,  with  great  decorum,  by  the  Magistrates  and  Council, 
on  the  stair  head  of  the  ToUbooth ;  and  the  glasses,  after  being 
emptied,  were  thrown  among  the  assembled  crowd  below,  as  if  to 
show  they  should  never  be  degraded  by  any  other  sentiment.  The 
tavern  bill,  on  4th  June,  1794,  was:- — Port,  42  bottles,  ;£^  ids.; 
porter,  5s.;  sixty  glasses,  £1  ;  twelve  broken  bottles,  2s.;  ham  and 
biscuits,  ;^3  13s.;  toddy,  fifteen  pints,  :£2>;  punch,  twelve  pints, 
^8;  officers,  9s.;  —  in  all,  ^£2^  19s.  In  1796,  the  bill  was  ^25 
13s.;  in  1799,  ^31  i8s.  6d. 

The  intense  loyalty  of  the  inhabitants  to  the  throne,  was  not 
displayed  in  the  celebration  only  of  the  King's  birth  day,  but  was, 
at  times,  extended  to  that  of  his  consort,  the  Queen.  In  January, 
1795,  "the  birth  day  of  Her  Majesty  Queen  Charlotte  was  celebrated 
with  great  show  of  loyalty  and  attachment."  Although  the  weather 
was  exceedingly  unfavourable,  from  a  heavy  fall  of  snow,  the  Royal 
Paisley  Volunteers,  in  full  uniform,  with  their  flags  displayed,  were 
drawn  up  at  the  Cross  at  mid  day,  and  the  flank  companies,  having 
wheeled  inwards,  the  whole,  with  great  accuracy  and  precision, 
discharged  three  rounds,  amidst  a  numerous  assemblage  of  the 
inhabitants.  In  the  afternoon,  a  number  of  the  corps  dined 
together,  in  honour  of  the  auspicious  day,  when  many  patriotic 
toasts  and  sentiments  were  given.  In  the  evening,  there  was  an 
assembly  in  the  Abercorn  Inn,  which  was  more  numerously  attended 


94  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

and  brilliant  than  any  that  had  taken  place  for  years  past"  (Glasgow 
Mercury). 

The  following  are  the  prices  of  provisions  in  the  last  decade  of 
this  century : — 


s.  D. 

Beef,  per  lb.  of  2  2}^  oz.,  o  5^^ 

Mutton,  do.,  o  6 

Lamb,  do.,  06 

Veal,  do.,  o  6% 

A  Turkey,     6  o 

A  Hen, i  3 

A  Chicken,   o  6 

A  Duck,    I  3 


s.  D. 

Eggs,  per  dozen, o  7 

Butter,perlb.of  22^  oz.,  o  loyi 

Cheese,           do.,  o  4 

Potatoes,perpk.of37lbs.,  o  7 

New  Milk,  per  Scots  pint,  o  2  ^ 

Butter  Milk         do.,  o  o^ 

Whey,                  do.,  o  o^ 


The  progress  of  the  town  during  this  century  was  both  varied  in 
kind  and  important  in  degree.  At  the  commencement,  the  popu- 
lation was  about  2200,  in  1753  it  was  4195,  and  by  the  close  of  the 
century  it  had  rapidly  risen  to  24,324.  In  addition  to  the  many 
new  industries  that  had  arisen,  the  old  staple  trade  of  handloom 
weaving  had  also  vastly  increased.  While  the  handloom  weavers  at 
the  beginning  of  the  century  numbered  only  about  87,  by  the  end  of 
1782  they  had  increased  to  4007. 

The  wealth  and  public  spirit  of  the  inhabitants  in  this  century 
were  manifested  in  many  ways.  They  built  eight  churches  to  pro- 
vide accommodation  for  the  public  worship  of  the  inhabitants.  The 
Municipal  Buildings,  Jail,  and  Steeple  at  the  Cross,  the  Flesh 
Market  and  Shambles,  the  Old  Bridge  and  Grammar  School,  were 
all  rebuilt.  The  enterprising  inhabitants  likewise  erected  a  new  and 
commodious  poorhouse,  a  new  bridge  over  the  river  at  Sneddon, 
another  bridge  over  the  river  at  the  Abbey,  new  English  and  com- 
mercial schools,  along  with  schools  in  Storie  Street,  Maxwellton, 
and  Seedhills,  and  a  new  Town's  Inn.  But  the  most  extraordinary 
progress  made  was  in  the  erection  of  new  dwelling-houses,  in  the 
latter  half  of  the  century,  to  meet  the  rapid  increase  of  the  popula- 
tion. It  was  in  Sneddon  district,  about  1 730,  that  the  building 
of  new  dwelling-houses  and  loom -shops  first  commenced.  After- 
wards, as  trade  extended,  there  followed  the  rapid  erection  of  many 
other  houses  in  all  parts  of  the  town,  to  accommodate  the  great  influx 
of  workers  from  the  surrounding  counties,  who  were  attracted  to 
Paisley  by  its  abundant  and  well-paid  work. 

In  1757,  the  Earl  of  Dundonald,  following  the  example  of  the 
Magistrates  and  Town  Council,  commenced  to  feu  ground  adjoining 
the  Abbey  for  building  purposes.  The  advertisement  in  the  Glasgow 
Courant,  of  1757,  announcing  the  selling  of  the  first  of  these  old 
Abbey  lands,  states  that  about  four  acres  of  the  Abbey  gardens, 
"  very  advantageously  situated  upon  the  river  Cart,  a  little  above  the 
Old  Bridge  of  Paisley,"  will  be  feued,  by  public  roup,  on  the  27  th 
January,  1757  ;  and  that  "excellent  materials  for  building  will  be 


1750    TILL    1800.  95 

supplied  from  the  houses  and  garden -walls  of  Paisley,  where 
there  is  a  vast  quantity  of  hewn  stones,  which  Lord  Dundonald  is 
to  become  bound  to  sell  to  the  purchasers  at  a  reasonable  rate,  to 
be  specified  in  the  articles  of  roup." 

The  ground  here  referred  to  included  the  gateway  and  road  or 
avenue  leading  to  "  The  Place  of  Paisley,''  and  was  the  commence- 
ment of  what  was  afterwards  called  Abbey  Close.  The  tenement 
to  the  west  of  the  gateway,  was  called  the  "  Yett  House."  Before 
being  acquired,  about  this  time,  by  the  Earl  of  Dundonald,  it 
belonged  to  Robert  Park.  Adjoining  thereto,  on  the  south,  was 
the  tennis  court,  used  by  the  Dundonald  family.  The  removal  of 
the  ancient  gateway  to  the  Abbey,  gave  the  place  an  entirely  new 
appearance  (Statistical  Accoimt,  1793,  vol.  vii.,  p.  95).  Other  great 
changes  speedily  followed.  The  Place  of  Paisley,  which  had 
hitherto  been  occupied,  successively,  by  the  Abbots,  the  Commend- 
ators,  and  by  the  Abercorn  and  Dundonald  families,  in  whose  times 
it  had  been  the  scene  both  of  merriment  and  of  misery,  was  now  let 
out  for  the  occupation  of  tradespeople. 

In  1764,  the  Lordship  of  Paisley  was  re -purchased  by  the  Earl 
of  Abercorn,  who,  finding  a  great  demand  for  ground  to  build  upon, 
had  the  whole  of  the  ancient  large  garden,  orchard,  and  deer  park, 
laid  otT  in  a  regular  plan  for  feuing.  In  1778,  a  number  of  steadings 
were  feued  out  for  building  upon  ;  and  within  three  years  thereafter, 
eighty-one  houses  had  been  erected  (W.  Stmple,  p.  291).  The 
streets  in  the  new  plan  were  generally  named  from  the  different 
branches  of  the  weaving  trade  in  the  town,  and  they  continue  to  be 
so  designed  to  the  present  time.  The  Earl  of  Abercorn  appears  to 
have  been  very  sanguine  of  his  ability  to  establish  a  new  town  on 
the  east  side  of  the  river,  opposite  the  old  burgh,  for  he  erected 
there,  amidst  other  things,  at  great  expense,  an  elegant  and  commo- 
dious public  inn.  The  first  tenant  was  Joseph  Ritter;  and  the 
following  is  a  copy  of  his  advertisement,  announcing  the  opening  of 
the  inn,  on  13th  October,  1783:  — 

"  New  Inn  of  Paisley. 

"  Joseph  Ritter  begs  leave  to  inform  the  nobility,  gentry,  and  the 
public  in  general,  that  he  has  taken  that  large  and  commodious  inn, 
in  Newtown  of  Paisley  (just  now  built  by  the  Earl  of  Abercorn), 
which  is  furnished  and  fitted  up  in  the  neatest  and  genteelest 
manner;  and  will  be  opened  on  Monday,  the  13th  current,  for  the 
reception  of  those  who  please  to  favour  him  with  their  company, 
where  they  may  depend  on  the  best  usage,  and  every  article  charged 
on  the  most  reasonable  terms." 

The  prosperity  of  Paisley  at  this  time  was  unbounded  ;  and  the 
following  extract  from  the  Scots  Magazine,  vol.  xlii.,  December, 
1786,  shows  that,  in  this  light,  it  was  at  the  time  so  viewed:  — 
"  No  town  in  the  kingdom,  or  perhaps  in  Europe,  has  made  such 
rapid    progress  in  population  and  wealth  as  the  town  of  Paisley. 


9  6  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

In  the  year  1738,  the  inhabitants  were  only  about  4000.  These  are 
now  increased  near  sixfold,  the  inhabitants  at  present  being  not  less 
than  22,000.  The  houses  were  formerly  mean  in  their  appearance, 
the  streets  narrow  and  dirty,  and  the  people  slovenly  in  their  dress 
and  manners.  The  houses  are  now  mostly  new  and  elegant ;  the 
streets  spacious  and  well  paved ;  the  people  gay  and  polite ;  and 
their  servant  maids  more  neatly  dressed,  with  their  caps,  gauzes,  and 
white  stockings,  than  were  formerly  the  citizens'  wives.  Some  years 
ago  it  was  reckoned  indecent  for  even  one  of  the  better  sort  of 
inhabitants  to  be  carried  to  their  own  door  in  a  coach.  When, 
therefore,  any  of  them  were  conveyed  from  Glasgow  in  a  stage  or 
hackney  coach,  they  ordered  it  always  to  stop  at  some  little  distance 
from  the  town,  where  they  came  out,  in  order  to  avoid  the  censure 
of  their  neighbours  for  their  luxury.  Now  the  case  is  altered  ;  and 
not  content  with  foreign  accommodation,  they  have  just  now  got  from 
this  town  a  hackney  coach  for  themselves,  the  most  elegant,  perhaps, 
that  has  been  made,  and  thought  much  superior  to  any  other  either 
here  or  in  London.  The  new  inn,  lately  built  there  by  Lord 
Abercorn,  will  compare,  either  for  the  neatness  of  the  outside  or 
accommodation  within,  to  anything  of  the  kind  in  Britain. 
Formerly,  they  depended  on  Glasgow,  in  a  great  measure,  for  the 
support  of  their  manufactures.  They  now  do  for  themselves  ;  and 
have  of  late  set  up  a  bank  for  the  facility  of  their  merchants.  If 
they  go  on  for  twenty  years  more  in  the  way  they  have  done  for 
twenty  past,  Paisley  will  be  a  much  more  considerable  place  than 
even  Glasgow." 

The   following   is   an   interesting  and  well  -  prepared  statement 
relative  to  the  trade  of  the  town  in  1789  : — 

Abstract  of  the  Manufactures  of  Paisley,  with  their  value,  and  the 
number  e7nployed  in  them  in  the  year  1789. 


Manufactures. 


Employments  i.v  the  Manu-         No.  of  Produce  in 

FACTUREs.  Hands.  Money. 


Silk  Gauze, Weavers  employed  in  this  branch 

in  Paisley, 5000 

Winders,  warpers,  clippers,  over- 
seers, &c. ,  employed,     5000 

10,000 

Vahie    manufactured    Ijy    every 

silk  loom,  ;^70  stg.  per  annum, 

at  an  average,  is    ;ic^35o>ooo    o     o 

Lmvns, Weavers     employed     in     these 

branches, 2S00 

Cambrics,  Winders,  warpers,  clippers,  over- 
seers, bleachers,  &c., Iioo 

Thread  Gauze    Spinners  of  the  yarn  used  in  this 

and  Micslins.        manufacture, 73^4 

Makers  of  machinery,  implements, 

heddles,  &c. ,  for  silk  and  lawn,       800 

12,084 

1600  of  those  now  employed  in  the  muslin  trade. 

Carried  fo}~ivard. ^^350,000    o     o 


1750    TILL    iSoO.  97 

Brought  foi-tuard, ^350,000    o    o 

Value  of  the  lawns,  cambrics,  and  muslins 

manufactured,  is 180,385   16     o 

White  or         Spinners,  winders,  bleachers,  twisters,  and 

Threads.  drivers, 4800 

Value  of  this  manufacture  amounts  to  70,000    o    o 

HardandSoft  1 

Soap  and      >  Value  of  these  branches  will  amount  to  48,000    o    o 

Candles.        ) 

^  /    '^  '  J  Value  of  these  trades  put  together  will  be   12,000    o    o 

Janworks,<kc.  \  i  &  > 

^  Total  yearly  value  of  the  manufactures  of  Paisley,  ;if  660, 385   16    c 
^  Statistical  Account,  1793,  vol.  vii.,  p.  73. 


CHAPTER    XVI. 

1800    TILL    1825. 

HE  period  comprising  the  dose  of  the  last  and  the 
commencement  of  the  present  century,  is  memorable 
for  the  great  scarcity  and  the  consequent  high  price  of 
provisions.  The  harvest  of  1799  was  a  great  failure ; 
and  during  the  following  winter  provisions  of  every 
kind  rose  to  famine  rates.  It  was  a  period  of  great  hardship  to  all 
classes.  Oatmeal,  which  was  then  the  staff  of  life,  was  bad  in 
quality.  Many  were  under  the  necessity  of  travelling  miles  to 
obtain  oatmeal  and  flour,  and  frequently  the  small  quantity  they 
managed  to  procure  was  almost  worthless.  "To  assist  in  alleviating 
the  sufferings  of  the  poor,  the  Town  Council  of  Paisley  deemed  it 
necessary  to  join  the  inhabitants  in  having  public  kitchens,  and  to 
enter  into  sul3Scriptions  for  the  relief  of  the  poor  at  this  season  of 
scarcity  and  of  expensive  markets  "  (  Council  Records,  3rd  February, 
1800).  Subscriptions  were  also  commenced  by  the  benevolent, 
who  sympathised  with  the  sufferings  of  the  poor,  "  towards  a  fund 
for  importing  grain  into  the  country"  (Coimcil  Records,  28th 
February,  1800);  and  to  aid  this  very  laudable  scheme  the  Council 
subscribed  ;;/^2oo.  The  trades  and  other  societies  of  the  town, 
along  with  the  more  wealthy  inhabitants,  were  likewise  liberal 
contributors.  The  Merchants'  Society,  on  3rd  February,  "  con- 
sidering the  present  necessitous  state  of  the  poor,  and  that  there  is 
a  fund  now  raising,  by  subscription,  for  their  support,  agree  to  con- 
tribute twenty  guineas."' 

The  importation  of  foreign  grain,  to  meet  the  wants  of  the 
inhabitants,  was  a  wise  measure,  for  the  quantity  of  meal  and 
potatoes  at  this  time  in  the  hands  of  the  farmers  and  dealers  was 
very  small.  Parliament  also  adopted  measures  to  encourage  the 
importation  of  grain,  and  agreed  to  indemnify  those  who  brought 
grain  from  the  Mediterranean  and  America  before  the  end  of 
October,  if,  in  consequence  of  a  good  harvest,  it  should  decline  in 
price.  By  many  of  the  members  of  the  House  of  Lords,  a  novel 
form  of  agreement  was  entered  into,  with  the  view  of  limiting  the 
consumpt  of  bread.  Every  subscriber  to  that  agreement  became 
bound  to  limit  the  quantity  of  wheaten  bread  consumed  in  his 
family  to  one  quartern  loaf  a  week  for  each  person. 

Unfortunately  for  the  country,  the  scanty  crops  of  1799  were 
followed,  in  1800,  by  a  harvest  equally  deficient,  and  this,  of  course, 
aggravated  the  distress  of  the  working  classes.  Frequently  the 
oatmeal  brought  to  the  market  was  very  inferior  in  quality.     In  the 


i8oo  TILL  1825.  99 

middle  of  August,  the  Magistrates  confiscated  three  bolls  of  meal 
which  were  found,  upon  examination,  to  be  of  an  unwholesome 
quality,  and  fined  the  exposer  of  it  in  five  guineas  for  the  benefit  of 
the  poor.  The  Council,  in  order  to  induce  the  farmers  and  dealers 
to  bring  potatoes  into  the  town  in  greater  quantities,  resorted  to  the 
expedient  of  offering  bounties.  A  premium  was  given  "  of  jQt,  3s.  to 
those  who  bring  in  the  greatest  quantity;  ^2  2s.  to  those  who 
bring  in  the  second  greatest  quantity;  and  ;£i  is.  to  those  who 
bring  in  the  third  largest  quantity ;  and  the  same  to  continue  for 
fourteen  days"  (Council  Records^  26th  August,  1800).  How  far 
this  plan  succeeded  we  have  no  means  of  knowing. 

In  consequence  of  some  attempt  at  rioting  by  a  few  evil- disposed 
persons,  the  Magistrates,  Lord-Lieutenant,  and  Sheriff,  were,  on 
29th  October,  under  the  necessity  of  issuing  the  following 
proclamation  :  —  "  Whereas,  in  the  morning  of  yesterday,  several 
seditious  and  inflammatory  notices  were  posted  up  in  different  parts 
of  the  town  of  Paisley,  inciting  the  inhabitants  to  a  meeting  at  five 
o'clock ;  and  whereas  a  mob  of  riotous  and  disorderly  persons  did, 
in  the  evening  of  yesterday,  assemble  and  commit  many  acts 
injurious  to  the  persons  and  property  of  the  peaceable  inhabitants, 
we  give  this  public  intimation  of  our  determination  to  suppress  all 
riots,  tumults,  and  illegal  assemblies,  and  to  carry  into  effect,  by 
every  means  in  our  power,  His  ^Majesty's  proclamation,  dated  i8th 
September,  1800.  We  hereby  offer  a  reward  of  twenty  guineas  to 
any  person  or  persons  Avho  will  discover  the  writers,  or  those  who 
posted  up  the  said  inflammatory  notices  ;  and  any  person  or  persons 
who  will  give  information  respecting  the  outrages  already  committed, 
shall  be  liberally  rewarded  by  applying  to  the  Town  Clerk  of  the 
Town  of  Paisley.  We  further  pledge  ourselves  to  aftbrd  every 
encouragement  to  such  persons  as  may  supply  the  Town  of  Paisley 
with  meal  and  other  articles  of  provisions,  and  have  adopted  the 
necessary  measures  for  their  complete  protection." 

The  demand  for  oatmeal  was  so  great,  and  the  supply  so 
deficient,  that  in  the  month  of  November,  when  the  dearth  was 
most  severe,  it  rose  to  4s.  and  5s.  per  peck,  the  rate  before  the 
dearth  being  only  about  is.  a  peck.  When  a  shopkeeper  got  a  supply 
of  meal  or  potatoes,  a  crowd  of  a  hundred  or  two  immediately 
surrounded  the  shop  to  purchase  them.  The  distress  among  the 
working  classes  still  continuing,  the  Council  agreed  "  to  contribute 
^40  towards  carrying  on  the  public  kitchens,  for  behoof  of  the  poor 
of  the  town"  (Council  Records,  27th  November,  1800),  and  the 
Merchants'  Society  again  subscribed  twenty  guineas.  At  the  same 
meeting,  the  Council  resolved  "  to  convene  the  inhabitants  of  the 
town,  to  consider  the  propriety  of  a  subscription  for  behoof  of  the 
poor  of  the  town  in  this  time  of  scarcity."  On  ist  December 
following,  they  agreed  "  to  subscribe  ;^2oo  for  importing  foreign 
grain  to  the  town,  for  the  relief  of  the  inhabitants,  providing  that 
such  a  measure  be  countenanced  by  the  principal  inhabitants  of  the 
town  by  their  subscriptions."     Although  we  have  been  unable  to 


lOO  HISTORY  OF  PAtSLEY. 

discover  any  records  showing  what  was  done,  yet  we  have  no 
doubt,  looking  to  the  general  pubUc  spirit  of  the  inhabitants,  they 
would  cordially  support  the  Council  in  their  philanthropic  efforts.^ 

In  consequence  of  the  high  price  of  provisions,  and  the  severe 
pressure  upon  the  poorer  classes,  Parliament  was  called  together 
as  early  as  November.  The  question  of  remedial  measures  was  at 
once  referred  to  select  committees  in  both  houses.  The  Commons' 
committee  recommended  that  the  King  should  be  empowered  to 
prohibit,  by  orders  in  Council,  the  export  of  provisions ;  that  there 
should  be  a  bounty  on  the  importation  of  certain  articles ;  the  pro- 
hibition, for  a  limited  time,  of  the  use  of  corn  in  the  distilling  of 
spirits,  or  in  the  making  of  starch ;  and  the  prohibition  of  bread 
made  solely  from  the  fine  flour  of  wheat.  All  these  proposals,  with 
some  others,  were  at  once  passed  into  a  law. 

A  very  great  deal  of  excitement  prevailed  at  that  time  among  a 
certain  class  of  the  community,  in  consequence  of  a  belief  that  some 
of  the  dealers  in  provisions  withheld  them  from  sale,  in  order  to 
obtain  higher  prices  afterwards.  Great  support  was  given  to  this 
supposition,  by  the  fact  that  the  discontented  discovered  some 
cellars,  in  the  buildings  adjoining  the  Abbey  Church,  to  be  filled 
with  good  potatoes.  When  this  became  known,  a  vast  crowd, 
consisting  mostly  of  women,  boys,  and  girls,  assembled  at  the  cellars, 
all  provided  with  pocks  or  bags.  The  potato  stores  were  broken 
open,  and  immediately  the  bags  were  filled  with  potatoes,  and 
carried  off  by  the  mob.  In  the  meantime,  the  conduct  of  the 
rioters  became  known  to  the  Magistrates,  who  appeared  on  the  scene 
with  a  corps  of  volunteers,  then  quartered  in  the  town,  but  not  till  all 
the  potatoes  had  been  carried  away.-  It  was  alleged  that  many  of 
the  volunteers,  instead  of  trying  to  stop  the  pillage  by  the  mob, 
went  so  far  as  to  add  to  it  themselves.  Shortly  afterwards,  a 
caricature  was  exhibited  in  the  shop  windows,  representing  a 
volunteer  with  a  well -filled  bag  of  potatoes  on  his  back,  calling  to 
the  crowd  to  keep  out  of  his  way,  as  he  was  hurrying  home  for  his 
gun  (Tlie  Burnlip,  by  Thomas  Dick,  p.  loo).  The  inhabitants  of 
Paisley,  however,  suffered  less  from  the  dearth  than  those  of  many 
other  towns.  After  the  stagnation  of  trade,  in  1793,  the  fancy 
muslin  trade  had  been  prosperous ;  the  work  was  light,  and  the 
working  classes  earned  good  wages.  This  epoch  has  since  been 
known  among  all  classes  in  the  country,  even  to  the  present  day,  as 
"  the  year  of  the  great  dearth."  In  the  course  of  a  year  or  two 
provisions,  in  consequence  of  better  harvests,  became  reduced  in 
price. 

^  "For  the  benefit  of  the  poor,  there  will  be  dances  in  the  Abercom  Arms 
Inn,  on  Monday  evening,  the  i6th  February,  1801,  to  begin  at  eight  o'clock. 
Tickets,  five  shillings  each"  (Glasgow  Courier). 

*  ParkhilVs  Ten  Years'  Experience  of  a  BethreVs  Life,  p.  98.  Parkhill  lived  at 
this  time  in  Paisley.  In  Glasgow,  at  the  same  period,  the  poorer  inhabitants 
gathered  together  in  the  meal  market,  at  the  foot  of  Montrose  Street,  and 
tumultuously  proceeded  to  effect  theirownrelief  f  C/^JwnVA'j^^'/'.  Mtingo,  p.  266). 


l8oO    TILL    1825.  lOI 

In  the  first  week  of  September,  1801,  an  earthquake  was  felt  very 
generally  over  the  country.  In  some  houses  in  Glasgow  and  neigh- 
bourhood, the  bells  rang  and  the  windows  shook.  In  Paisley  and 
Hamilton,  it  was  felt  at  nearly  the  same  moment.  At  Renfrew,  a 
weaver  standing  in  his  workshop  felt  it  most  distinctly.  The 
heddles  of  his  loom  were  set  in  motion  by  it,  which  led  him  to 
believe  that  a  rat  had  got  upon  his  web.  At  Renfield  house,  in  the 
neighbourhood,  six  ladies,  in  different  apartments,  felt  as  if  their 
bedsteads  had  been  shaken  by  some  person  ;  and  a  negro  in  the 
stable  had  the  same  impression  as  he  had  frequently  experienced 
from  a  similar  cause  in  the  West  Indies.  It  was  also  distinctly  felt 
in  Edinburgh,  Leith,  and  neighbourhood.  It  continued  two  or 
three  seconds.  It  was  preceded  by  a  rumbling,  rushing,  hollow 
noise  from  the  ground.  It  had  a  tremulous,  undulating  motion, 
somewhat  resembling  the  waves  of  the  sea.  Beds,  tables,  chairs, 
&c.,  shook  violently  in  some  houses.  Several  persons  who  felt  it  had 
a  very  disagreeable  sensation,  attended  with  headache  (Glasgota 
Courier,  loth  September,  1801). 

"  Hutcheson's  Charity  School "  was  founded  and  endowed  by 
Margaret  Hutcheson,  who  was  born  in  the  Parish  of  Govan.  Her 
husband,  John  Park,  was  born  in  the  Parish  of  Houston.  They 
both,  however,  resided  in  Paisley  the  greater  part  of  their  lifetime. 
Her  brother,  James  Hutcheson,  was  a  tailor  to  trade,  who  went 
in  early  life  to  St.  John's,  Antigua,  and  as  a  merchant-tailor  accumu- 
lated a  considerable  fortune.  At  his  death,  Margaret  Hutcheson 
succeeded  to  upwards  of  ^20,000.  Her  husband  at  this  time  was 
working  in  Paisley  as  a  daily  labourer.  In  their  altered  position 
they  acted  with  great  prudence,  and  were  eminently  kind  to  the 
poor,  and  very  charitable  in  assisting  many  of  their  acquaintances 
and  relations  with  money  to  relieve  their  wants.  Their  donations 
were  numerous.  To  the  Ladies'  Hospital,  ^100;  to  the  Kirk 
Session  of  Paisley,  ;^ioo;  to  the  Magistrates  and  Council,  £,So,  the 
interest  being  meant  to  support  a  Public  Dispensary;  to  the  same 
body,  ^200,  the  interest  to  be  applied  to  the  support  of  some  old 
people  residing  in  Paisley  of  the  name  of  Park  or  Hutcheson  ;  to 
the  same  body,  ;^5o,  to  promote  the  institution  of  a  Sunday  School ; 
and  ;^2o  to  the  Kirk  Session  of  Houston.  All  the  rest  of  their 
fortune  was  bequeathed  amongst  a  great  number  of  legatees,  except 
the  sum  of;i^i5oo,  "as  a  fund  for  erecting,  establishing,  and  endowing 
a  Charity  School  in  the  town  of  Paisley,  to  be  called  Hutcheson's 
Charity  School,  for  the  end  and  purpose  of  instructing  poor  orphans 
or  the  children  of  poor  parents  residing  in  the  town  of  Paisley  or 
town  parishes  thereof,  who  shall  be  presented  and  admitted  by  the 
Patrons  or  Governors  of  said  charity  aftermentioned,  in  reading 
English,  and  in  the  principles  of  the  Christian  religion,  and  also  in 
writing  and  the  common  rules  of  arithmetic  in  case  the  said  governors 
shall  judge  this  branch  of  education  expedient,  and  that  a  proper 
teacher  be  got  for  both  of  these  branches  "  (Margaret  Hutchesoiis  Deed 


102  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

of  Settlement,  dated  22nd  August,  1793.  It  was  registered  in  the 
Commissary  Court  books  of  Glasgow,  22nd  March,  1795).  The 
gift  was  for  the  time  being  vested  in  the  Magistrates  and  Treasurer 
of  the  town,  the  governor  of  the  Town's  Hospital,  the  Deacon  or 
Boxmaster  of  the  Old  Society  of  Weavers,  the  preses  or  the  Box- 
master  of  the  Society  of  Merchants,  and  one  member  from  each  of 
the  three  Kirk  Sessions  of  the  town  parishes,  to  be  chosen  annually, 
by  the  several  sessions,  as  governors,  directors,  patrons,  and 
managers  of  said  Charity  Institution — any  five  of  whom  to  be  a 
quorum.  Full  and  ample  powers  of  every  kind  were  given  to  them 
in  the  management  of  the  trust. 

Margaret  Hutcheson  died  1 2th  February,  1795,  ^g^d  70  years ;  and 
her  husband  died  14th  April,  1797,  upwards  of  70  years  of  age. 
They  were  interred  on  the  west  side  of  the  High  Church  Burying 
Ground,  where,  during  their  lives,  a  stone  had  been  erected  with  this 
inscription: — "This  is  the  burying  place  of  John  Park  and  Margaret 
Hutcheson,  his  wife,  1789." 

"  By  faith  a  man  enjoys  his  Maker; 
By  love  his  neighbours. 
And  by  contentment  himself. 
Remember,  man,  as  thou  go'st  by, 
As  thou  art  now,  so  once  was  I ; 
As  I  am  now,  so  thou  must  be ; 
Therefore,  prepare  to  follow  me." 

The  first  meeting  of  the  directors, — for  that  was  the  designation 
they  afterwards  assumed, — was  held  on  6th  August,  1802,  at  which 
Mr.  James  Carlile,  one  of  the  executors  under  Margaret  Hutcheson's 
deed  of  settlement,  was  elected  to  be  preses,  and  Mr.  James 
Walkinshaw,  writer,  to  be  clerk.  At  a  meeting  held  on  i  ith  January, 
1804,  Bailie  Moody  was  elected  preses,  Mr.  Carlile  treasurer,  which 
situation  he  held  till  his  death  in  1835,  and  John  Boyle  clerk. 
At  this  meeting  "the  directors  agreed  first  to  lease  a  place  for 
a  school-room,  and  also  to  advertise  for  a  teacher,  to  be  allowed  ;^4o 
of  yearly  salary  with  a  free  school,  and  declared  it  to  be  their  inten- 
tion to  build  a  house  for  a  school-house,  and  dwelling-house  for  the 
master  at  some  future  period."  At  the  following  meeting,  held  on  6th 
March,  they  agreed  to  take  from  Mrs  Sharp  a  room  in  High  Street, 
to  be  used  as  their  first  school,  for  one  year,  from  Whitsunday 
next,  at  jQ^  ;  and  also  approved  of  a  set  of  rules  relating  to 
management,  which  they  ordered  to  be  printed.  On  13th  March, 
they  elected  Mr.  Shields,  teacher,  Rutherglen,  to  be  their  first  master, 
and  appointed  a  committee  for  the  admission  of  children,  another 
for  accounts,  and  a  third  for  education.  When  the  School  was 
opened  on  4th  June,  1804,  there  were  44  children  admitted  to  the 
day  school,  and  40  admitted  to  the  evening  school  on  the  following 
night.  The  teacher  was  appointed  to  act  as  clerk  to  the  directors, 
an  arrangement  that  exists  at  the  present  time.  The  directors 
leased  the  school -room  in  the  west  or  wee  steeple,  which  had  formerly 


iSoo    TILL    1825.  103 

been  the  Town's  English  School,  at  an  annual  rent  of  ^8  8s.,  and 
the  scholars  removed  thither  at  Whitsunday,  1805.  When  the 
Council,  in  1807,  offered  to  sell  this  steeple  by  public  roup,  the  direc- 
tors offered  to  give  ^^ 500  for  it,  but  it  was  sold  at  a  much  higher  sum. 
In  January  following  "the  proprietors  of  the  Baptist  meeting-house, 
in  Penn  Road,"  offered  to  let  it  to  the  directors,  who  agreed  to  take 
it  for  their  school-house,  the  annual  rent  being^i3  los.  In  1811, 
Mr.  Shields,  who  had  on  several  occasions  received  a  gratuity  of 
;^5,  fell  into  bad  health,  resigned,  and  the  directors  elected  Mr. 
Peter  T^I'Laren  as  his  successor.  The  number  of  scholars  in  the  day- 
school  varied  from  40  to  80,  and  in  181 1  it  reached  109.  The 
night-school  was  not  very  well  attended,  for  the  greatest  number  of 
scholars  was  about  50. 

In  March,  1812,  Mr.  Walter  Carswell  died,  and  left  by  his  deed 
of  settlement  the  very  helpful  sum  of  ;^5oo  to  the  Institution,  "but 
under  the  express  provision  and  declaration  that  the  managers  and 
directors  of  the  said  Institution  Fund,  hereby  appropriated  therefor, 
shall  be  bound  in  admitting  children  to  the  benefit  thereof,  to  give 
decided  preference  to  all  such  children  bearing  the  name  of  Carswell 
and  applying  therefor.  The  number  never  exceeding  ten."  On 
30th  October,  181 2,  Mr.  William  M'Ewen,  teacher  at  Dalswinton,  in 
the  Parish  of  Kirkmahoe,  was  elected  to  succeed  Mr.  Peter  M"Laren, 
at  a  salary  of  ^60.  Mr.  Carlile,  the  treasurer,  at  this  time  added 
;^5o  to  the  funds.  "  The  thanks  of  the  directors  were  given  for  his 
generous  gift."  Mr.  M'Eavcu  having  also  fallen  into  ill  health, 
retired;  and  on  7th  May,  1816,  Mr.  John  Armour,  student  of 
divinity,  was  appointed,  at  the  same  salary  as  his  predecessor. 
In  October,  18 18,  the  teacher  informed  the  directors  "that  he 
usually  meets  on  the  evening  of  the  Lord's  day,  for  an  hour  and  a 
half,  with  advanced  scholars,  who  either  are  or  have  been  in 
the  school,  for  religious  instruction,  and  that  at  that  time  there 
were  between  twenty  and  thirty  attending."  In  this  month  the 
directors  bought  from  C.  J.  F.  Orr,  Esq.,  a  piece  of  ground, 
extending  from  "  Pen  Lane,"  fifty  feet  eastward,  along  Oakshaw 
Street,  for  ^100,  on  w^hich  to  erect  a  school-house.  On  20th 
October,  181 9,  the  funds  of  the  Institution  stood  as  follows:  — 

Lent  to  the  Town  Council,  ...  ...  ^2070     o     o 

Lodged  in  Union  Bank,  ...  ...  20     o     o 

Ground  for  a  School,      ...  ...  ...  100     o     o 

Cash  on  hand,     ...         ...  ...  ...  918 


In  all,  ...     ;z{^2i99     i     8 

On  23d  October,  1820,  the  directors  agreed  that  they  should 
erect  a  commodious  school- house,  on  the  ground  they  had  recently 
purchased,  capable  of  accommodating  250  scholars. 

On  2nd  November,  1820,  it  was  intimated  to  the  directors  "that 
the  late  Hugh  Thomson,   Esq.,  had  by  his    Deed  of  Settlement 


104  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY, 

bequeathed  to  them  ^200,  for  the  more  effectually  promoting  and 
carrying  into  effect  the  ends  and  designs  of  the  Institution." 

On  the   estimates  being  opened  for  the  erection  of  the  school- 
house,  it  was  found  that  the  offers  of  Alex.  Davidson  and  Thomas 
Miller  for  the  mason-work  were  alike,  ^160.     The  directors  left  it 
to  the  offerers  to  settle  among  themselves  who  should  do  the  work. 
William  &  Robert  Walker's  offer  of  ^285  was  accepted  for  the 
Wright,  smith,  slater,  plumber,  and  plaster-work.     In  October,  1821, 
the  directors  bought  for  ^32,  apiece  of  ground  on  the  south  side  of 
that  which  they  had  already  purchased.      The  new  school -house 
being  finished,  was  first  occupied  in  March,  1822,  and  the  directors 
"  authorised  the  treasurer  to  pay  Mr.  Vallance  ;£,\2   12s.  for  his 
great  trouble  in  making  out  plans  and  specifications,  and  in  superin- 
tending the  building."     The  attendance  of  day  scholars,  for  several 
years  prior  to  the  opening  of  the  new  school,  was  about  100  ;  and 
in  the  night  school  the  number  varied  considerably.     In  18 16,  the 
attendance  at  one  time  was  as  low  as  34,  but  in  1819  it  rose  to  102. 
The  teachers  appointed  in  succession  after  this  were,  Mr.  John  Reid, 
on  4th  April,   1827;^  Mr.  James  Shaw  Brown,    on  i8th  August, 
1831 ;  -  Mr.  Neil  Livingston, on  21st  Oct.,  1834;  Mr.  Matthew  Adam, 
on  ist  December,  1835  ;  Mr.  John  Meikleham,  in  1837  ;  Mr.  Joseph 
Robertson,   on   4th  April,    1838  ;    Mr.  John  Campbell,   on   27th 
January,  1847.      ^^^-  Campbell  continued  in  office  till  November, 
1882,  a  period  of  35  years,  when  he  resigned.     The  school  prospered 
under  his  good  management,  and  the  directors  in  the  minute  of  their 
meeting  of  30th  November,  1882,  "  resolved  to  record  an  expression 
of  their  deep  regret  at  receiving  Mr.  Campbell's  resignation,  their  thanks 
for  his  long  and  faithful  services,  and  their  good  wishes  for  his  future 
welfare."     The  clerk  was  instructed  to  send  to  Mr.  Campbell  an  ex- 
cerpt of  this  minute.    "  Mr.  John  Davidson  was  appointed  Mr.  Camp- 
bell's successor  on  20th  April,  1883.     The  school  was  always  full  of 
scholars  during  Mr.  Campbell's  tenure  of  office,  having  about  150 
during  the  day,  and  at  the  night  class  about  70."      In  1835,  ^^i"- 
James  Carlile,  who  was  one  of  the  executors  of  Margaret  Hutcheson, 
died.     He  discharged  the  duties  of  treasurer  gratuitously  from  the 
opening  of  the  school  till  his  death.     The  directors  recorded  in  their 
minutes  their  high  appreciation  of  Mr.  Carlile's  work.     "  To  his 
economical  and  faithful  management  of  the  trust,  this  establishment 
owes  much  of  its  prosperity  and  succe'ss.     He  watched  its  progress 
with  the  assiduity  and  affection  of  a  parent ;  and  the  successive 
teachers  and  pupils  ever  found  in  him  a  sincere  and  liberal  friend." 
In  1866  the  pupils  attending  the  John  Neilson  Institution  did  a 
very  handsome  thing  for  the  benefit  of  the  scholars  of  Hutcheson's 
Charity  School.     They  gave  a  Musical  Demonstration  in  the  Free 
Middle  Church,  on  29th  June  in"^that  year,  and  the  proceeds,  which 
amounted  to  ;^3o,  were  given  in  articles  of  clothing  as  prizes,   to 

'  Mr.  Reid  was  afterwards  master  of  the  Town's  English  School. 
"  Mr.  Brown  was  appointed  governor  of  the  Town's  Hospital. 


iSoO    TILL    1S25.  TO5 

such  of  the  pupils  as  were  selected,  after  a  competitive  examination, 
as  having  made  the  greatest  progress  in  their  lessons.  In  this  way 
prizes  in  clothing  were  given  to  twelve  girls  and  thirteen  boys. 

On  24th  January,  1883,  the  following  regulations  were  adopted 
by  the  directors  in  the  management  of  the  Institution  : — 

ist. — "  That  henceforth  no  children  be  admitted  to  the  benefit  of 
the  '  charity '  who  are  under  five  or  over  seven  years  of  age,  except 
in  special  circumstances,  and  such  as  may  be  sent  by  the  Parochial 
Board.  2nd. — That  the  salary  of  the  teacher  commence  at  this  date 
at  ;^65  per  annum.  3rd. — That  the  hours  of  teaching  be  from  9.30 
a.m.  till  12;  and  from  i  till  3.30  p.m.;  in  the  evening,  from  7 
till  9  o'clock  ;  and  that  there  be  no  teaching  on  Saturday.  4th. — 
That  the  summer  holidays  be  limited  to  one  calendar  month,  and 
be  taken  in  the  month  of  August.  5th. — That  the  regulation  to 
give  six  weeks'  notice  of  motion,  be  altered  to  one  month's  notice. 
6th. — That  the  corporal  punishment  of  the  children  be  limited  to 
stripes  with  tawse  only  on  the  palms  of  the  hands." 

The  following  shows  the  number  of  scholars  that  attended  during 
the  years  stated  : — 

Scholars  in  day  class,    -     1880-1,  240  In  1881-2,   235 


Left  School  for  work,    - 

M 

-      50 

Removals, 

-      21 

To  attend  other  Schools, 

?) 

-      16 

111  health,         -       -       - 

2 

Deaths,      -       -       -       - 

I 

„       „  -  40 

„  -  24 

„  -  14 

„      „  -  ° 

„       -          2 
90  80 

Leaving  on  roll,  August.  1 801, —86  boys  and  64  girls,    -     150 
Leaving  on  roll,  August,  1882, — 93  boys  and  62  girls,    -     155 

Attendance  day  class,  Dec,  1882,  Boys,  96;  Girls,  64=160.     Average,   135 
,,  evening  class,       ,,         Boys,  42;  Girls,    6=48.     Average,      37 

Sfafe  of  the  Funds  for  the  Year  ending  November,  1880 : — 

Income. 

Interest,  ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...  £,']<)     9     o 

Books  Sold,         3     5° 

Burgh  Parochial  Board,              ...          ...          ...  10     00 

Rent  for  use  of  School-room,     ...         ...         ...  100 

Rent  from  Property,       ...          ...          ...          ...  44  12     4 

Excess  of  expenditure,    ...         ...         ...         ...  25     5     2 


Teacher's  Salary,... 
Repairs,   ... 
General  Charges, 

Expenditure. 

-     ^85     0     0 
44   12      I 
33   19     5 

^163   II     6 

106  history  of  paisley. 

Assets. 

Burgh  Annuity  Fund,  ...         ...         ...  ...  ^148^  o  o 

Water  Commissioners,  ...          ...          ...  ...  500  o  o 

National  Security  Savings  Bank,         ...  ...  52  10  o 

House  Property,  Oakshaw  Street,       ...  ...  268  4  7 


;^2303^4_    7 

List  of  Presidents. 
1802,  Mr.  James  Carlile  ;  1804,  Bailie  A.  Moody;  1804,  Bailie 
John  Orr ;  1806,  Bailie  Wm.  Stow  ;  1807,  Bailie  Archd.  Jamieson; 
1808,  Mr.  Wm.  Fulton  ;  1809,  Bailie  Jamieson  ;  18 10,  Mr.  Adam 
Kerr;  181 1,  Bailie  Davidson;  181 2,  Bailie  Alex.  Macalister ; 
1813,  Bailie  M'Lean;  181 7,  Provost  Carlile;  1818,  Bailie  Vallance; 
1819,  Bailie  Farquharson  ;  1820,  Provost  Carlile;  1824,  Provost 
Farquharson ;  1826,  Bailie  Gilmour ;  1827,  Provost  Farquharson; 
1829,  Provost  Boyd;  1830,  Provost  Gilmour;  1832,  Bailie 
Buchanan;  1833,  Mr.  J.  Carlile;  1834,  Provost  Hardie ;  1837, 
Bailie  Hart;  1839,  Mr.  James  Forbes;  1840,  Provost  Bisset ; 
1843,  Bailie  Murray;  1844,  Provost  Murray;  1851,  Provost 
Philips;  1853,  Provost  Macfarlane  ;  1856,  Provost  Robert  Brown; 
1859,  Provost  Pollock;  1862,  Provost  Campbell;  1865,  Provost 
Macfarlane;  1869,  Provost  Murray;  1879,  Provost  M'Kean ; 
1882,  Provost  Clark. 

On  24th  June,  1803,  the  Faculty  of  Procurators  before  the  Courts 
of  Paisley  and  Renfrewshire  was  incorporated  by 'Royal  Charter.' 
The  Office-bearers  consisted  of  a  Dean,  Treasurer  and  Clerk,  three 
Councillors,  three  Examinators,  and  a  Librarian.  They  also  formed 
a  Society  for  the  Mutual  Assurance  of  their  Widows.  They  had  also 
a  Library  which  consisted  mostly  of  law  books.  This  society 
continued  till  1883,  when  the  members  obtained  an  Act  of  Parlia- 
ment empowering  them  to  have  it  dissolved  and  the  funds  divided 
amongst  themselves,  after  setting  apart  sufficient  money  to  meet 
the  annual  aliment  to  the  widows. 

About  the  close  of  last  century,  the  Magistrates  and  Council 
commenced  to  forward  addresses  to  the  King  and  the  Houses  of 
Parliament  on  matters  relating  to  the  public  affairs  of  the  nation. 
As  time  went  on,  this  practice  increased  in  frequency.  An  attempt 
was  made  to  shoot  the  King  while  in  the  theatre ;  and  the  Council, 
on  19th  May,  1800,  unanimously  agreed  "to  address  His  Majesty 
on  his  escape  from  being  assassinated  by  a  pistol  fired  at  him." 
When  the  treaty  of  peace  with  the  French  nation  was  finally 
concluded  at  Amiens,  on  27th  March,  1802,  the  Council,  on  the 
17th  May  following,  voted  an  address  to  His  Majesty,  "offering 
their  tribute  of  gratitude,  in  rendering  to  the  nation  the  inestimable 
blessings  of  peace."  ^     On  28th  March,  1803,  the  Council  voted  an 

^  The  preliminary  articles  of  peace  between  Great  Britain,  Holland,  France, 
and  Spain,  were  signed  in  London  by  Lord  Hawkesbury  and  Mr.  Otto,  on  the 


l800    TILL    1825.  107 

address  "  to  His  Majesty,  on  his  fortunate  escape  from  the 
conspiracy  of  Col.  Despard  and  his  associates." 

When  the  peace  of  Amiens  was  ratified,  the  officers  of  the  Paisley 
Volunteers,  and  the  Town  Council,  must  have  fully  believed  that  it 
was  to  be  a  solid  and  permanent  one.  They  did  not,  however,  go 
the  length  of  turning  their  swords  into  pruning  hooks  ;  but  they 
must  have  satisfied  themselves  that  the  services  of  the  Volunteers, 
along  with  their  flags,  were  no  longer  to  be  required.  About  two 
months  after  the  signing  of  that  treaty,  the  officers  of  the  Volunteers, 
acting  under  that  conviction,  presented  to  the  Council  the  standards 
belonging  to  the  corps,  as  the  following  interesting  minute,  dated 
17th  May,  1802,  in  the  Council  records,  plainly  shows:  —  "The 
standards  of  the  corps  of  Royal  Paisley  Volunteers  having  been 
deposited  in  trust  by  the  commanding  officer,  Lieutenant-Colonel 
M'Kerrell,  in  the  hands  of  the  Magistrates,  the  meeting  appoint 
them  to  be  lodged  in  the  Council  Chamber,  to  be  preserved  in 
sacred  trust,  as  a  memorial  of  the  loyalty  and  patriotism  of  the 
Town  of  Paisley  in  times  of  unparalleled  danger,  and  recommend 
a  display  of  them  on  the  anniversary  of  His  Majesty's  birth,  and 
other  proper  public  occasions ;  and  they  ordain  this  measure  to  be 
engrossed  on  their  records,  and  to  be  officially  communicated  to 
Lieutenant-Colonel  M'Kerrell." 

The  peace  of  Amiens  was  of  very  short  duration.  On  the 
renewal  of  the  war  between  France  and  England,  Napoleon 
Buonaparte,  First  Consul  of  the  Republic,  devoted  all  his  energies 
to  a  scheme  of  the  most  gigantic  proportions  for  the  invasion  of 
England.  A  camp,  consisting  of  upwards  of  300,000  men,  was 
planted  on  the  heights  of  Boulogne,  in  sight  of  the  English  shores  ; 
and  above  50,000  additional  troops,  ready  for  action,  were  placed 
along  the  coast  of  France,  in  a  cordon  stretching  from  Brest  to 
Antwerp.  It  was  in  this  exciting  period  that  the  Paisley  Town 
Council,  on  8th  July,  1803,  unanimously  resolved  to  address  the 
King  on  the  state  of  the  national  affairs.  This  able  and  patriotic 
address,  which  was  transmitted  to  Mr.  Macdowall,  M.P.,  for 
presentation,  runs  as  follows  :  —  "  Most  Gracious  Sovereign,  —  We, 
your  Majesty's  most  loyal  and  dutiful  subjects,  the  Magistrates  and 
Town  Council  of  Paisley,  address  your  INIajesty,  with  unfeigned 
assurance  of  affection  for  your  Majesty's  person,  and  of  attachment 
to  your  Majesty's  family  and  government.  At  a  period  when  the 
nation  is  justly  roused  in  expressing  indignation  at  the  malignant 
hostility  to  the  British  empire  evinced  by  the  French  nation  and 
their  domineering  and  arrogant  ruler,  we  should  be  unjust  to  our 
feelings,  and  unworthy  of  the  protection  of  that  happy  constitution 

part  of  England  and  France,  1st  October,  1801.  A  toast  by  Mr.  John  Love, 
at  a  social  meeting,  on  the  evening  of  the  illumination,  in  Paisley,  at  that  event, 
was:  — 

"  Here's  peace  and  plenty,  and  no  killing; 
Success  to  trade,  and  meal  a  shilling." 
(Paisley  Repository  of  18 12,  part  ii.,  p.  4.) 


TOS  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

under  which  we  liYe,  were  we  to  refrain  from  transmitting  to  your 
Majesty  our  sentiments  upon  this  important  occasion.  We  feel  and 
experience,  that  upon  the  preservation  of  our  constitution  our 
happiness  and  independence  do  wholly  depend ;  and  we  humbly 
beg  leave  to  assure  your  Majesty  that  no  exertions  shall  be  wanting 
upon  our  part  which  may  tend  to  the  support  of  your  Majesty's 
crown  and  government,  and  the  honour  of  your  family,  and  the 
rights  and  safety  of  the  nation.  Signed  by  our  chief  magistrate, 
in  our  name  and  by  our  appointment,  and  sealed  with  the  seal  of 
our  burgh,  this  8th  day  of  July,  1803." 

The  British  people  were  in  no  way  dismayed  by  this  threatened 
attack  of  the  French.  National  feeling,  on  the  contrary,  was 
completely  aroused  ;  and  all  sections  of  the  people  resolved,  as  one 
man,  to  repel  the  invaders  should  they  attempt  to  put  a  foot  upon 
our  shores.  The  navy  and  regular  army  were  strengthened  and 
increased ;  but  above  all,  there  was  again  awakened  the  strong 
national  spirit  that  showed  itself  in  volunteering.  Men  of  all  classes 
came  eagerly  forward  to  be  enrolled  and  to  be  armed ;  those 
unable  to  act  in  person  contributing  money.  The  inhabitants  of 
Paisley  were  not  behind -hand  in  showing  how  strongly  they  were 
imbued  with  this  warlike  impulse.  The  Magistrates  of  Paisley,  with 
the  view  of  eliciting  the  opinion  and  feelings  of  the  inhabitants 
regarding  the  establishment  of  Volunteer  corps,  resolved  on  holding 
a  public  meeting,  and  circulated  an  advertisement,  of  which  the 
following  is  a  copy  :  — 

"  Defence  of  the  Town  of  Paisley  and  Neighbourhood. 

"  The  Magistrates  of  Paisley  hereby  give  notice,  that  a  meeting 
of  the  inhabitants  of  the  town  and  neighbourhood  is  to  be  held 
within  the  Laigh  Church,  upon  Friday,  the  29th  day  of  June  current, 
at  twelve  o'clock  noon,  in  order  to  take  into  consideration  the 
raising  and  forming  of  a  corps  of  Infantry  for  the  defence  of  the 
Town  of  Paisley  and  neighbourhood,  in  terms  of  an  act  passed  in 
the  present  session  of  Parliament,  entitled,  '  an  act  to  enable  His 
Majesty  more  effectually  to  provide  for  the  defence  and  security  of 
the  realm  during  the  present  war,  &c.' 

"John  Orr, 
'■'■Eldest  Magistrate  and  Deputy  -  Lieutenant T 

The  result  of  this  meeting  was,  that  within  a  {t\\'  days  a  Volunteer 
Corps  was  raised  of  about  one  thousand  strong,  under  the  command 
of  Mr.  William  M'Kerrell.  Several  gentlemen  afterwards,  influenced 
greatly  by  personal  considerations,  urged  the  Magistrates  to  give 
their  countenance  to  the  forming  of  another  corps.  This  request 
was  complied  with,  and  they  were  called  the  "  gentle  Volunteers." 

At  a  meeting  of  Council  held  on  the  ist  August  in  this  year,  the 
Magistrates  reported  "  that  many  respectable  inhabitants  had 
suggested  to  them  the  propriety  of  raising  a  Corps  of  Volunteers  to 
serve  without  pay."  The  Council  highly  approved  of  the  proposal, 
but  agreed  to  delav  the  taking  of  anv  active  measures  till  the  Act 


l800    TILL    1825.  109 

of  Parliament  relating  to  the  general  defence  of  the  country  was 
received.  On  the  9th  of  the  same  month  they  unanimously 
adopted  the  following  resolutions. 

"  Corps  of  Volunteers  to  be  Raised. 
"  The  Magistrates  and  Council,  induced  by  a  sense  of  duty  and 
patriotism,  in  these  perilous  and  critical  times,  agreed  to  make  an 
offer  to  the  Government  to  raise  a  Corps  of  Volunteers,  and  came 
to  the  following  resolutions  on  the  subject : — 

Resolve  ist. — To  offer  a  Corps  of  Volunteers  to  serve  in  terms, 
on  the  conditions  specified  by  Lord  Cobart's  circular-letter  to 
Lord  Lieutenants  of  counties,  of  3rd  August,  1803. 

2nd. — Government  allowance  to  be  applied  solely  for  adjutant, 
drill-sergeants,  drums  and  fifes,  and  other  contingencies. 

3rd. — The  uniform  to  be  provided  by  every  gentleman  in  the 
corps  at  his  own  expense,  as  it  may  be  afterwards  agreed  on. 

4th. — The  officers  to  be  recommended  to  the  Lord  Lieutenant 
by  the  magistrates  and  town  council. 

5th. — Messrs.  Walter  Robertson,  Robert  Barclay,  Robert  M'Lean, 
William  Jamieson,  and  Alexander  M'Alister,  are  appointed  a 
committee,  along  with  the  magistrates,  to  take  the  proper  actions 
for  procuring  subscriptions,  publishing  terms,  and  arranging  measures 
necessary  for  the  establishment  of  the  corps." 

Two  days  afterwards  "  the  Magistrates  reported  to  the  Council 
the  conversation  they  had  had  this  day  with  Messrs.  Twigg,  James 
Orr,  John  Motherwell,  and  other  gentlemen  deputed  to  wait  upon 
them  by  the  subscribers  for  a  Corps  of  Volunteers,  from  which  it 
appeared  that  the  intending  members  of  said  corps  were  determined 
to  abide  by  their  resolution  of  recommending  their  own  officers." 
The  Council  resolved  not  to  deviate  from  their  resolutions  of  last 
meeting,  so  far  at  least  as  regards  the  recommendation  of  the 
commanding  officer  and  captains  of  companies  ;  but  with  the  view 
of  preventing  any  discord  on  this  point,  they  are  willing  to  submit  to 
the  choice  of  the  members  of  the  corps  a  list  of  gentlemen  all  of 
whom  they  consider  to  be  well  qualified  to  hold  commissions,  and 
from  whom  they  may  select  such  a  number  as  may  be  found  to 
be  necessary  for  commanding  the  corps  in  the  departments  of 
commanding  officers  and  captains,.  Thereafter  the  following  list 
was  voted  by  the  council : — 

"  The  commandant,  Robert  Fulton,  Esq.,  of  Hartfield.  For 
captains,  Messrs.  John  Pollock,  Wm.  Stewart,  John  Davidson  Wm. 
Twigg,  Wm.  Jamieson,  Robert  Orr,  Thos.  Bissland,  John  Mother- 
well, James  Sym,  Thos.  Lowndes,  Robert  M'Lean,  James  Whyte 
and  Robert  Smith.  The  other  field  officers  under  Mr.  Fulton,  if 
any  are  requisite,  are  allowed  to  be  nominated  from  the  above  list  of 
captains  ;  and  so  soon  as  the  corps  shall  be  formed  into  companies, 
the  subalterns  for  each  company  to  be  recommended  by  the 
individuals  comprising  these  companies." 


110  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

The  suggestions  of  the  council  regarding  the  appointment  of  the 
officers,  it  appears,  were  not  altogether  approved  of  by  the  gentlemen 
who  proposed  to  raise  the  independent  corps  of  volunteers  ;  but 
these  reported  to  the  council  on  the  15th  of  that  month,  "that  they 
had  begun  to  take  enrolments  for  having  corps  to  be  commanded  by 
Robert  Fulton,  Esq.,  of  Hartfield,  to  whom  they  had  recommended 
Messrs.  John  Pollock,  William  Stewart,  John  Davidson,  Alex. 
Campbell,  Wm.  Jamieson  and  Robert  Smith,  as  proper  persons  to 
be  appointed  captains  of  companies,"  The  council  "expressed  their 
approbation  of  these  proceedings,  and  recommended  the  adoption 
of  every  prudent  and  effectual  measure  for  completing  the  corps." 
Three  days  afterwards,  another  meeting  of  council  was  held,  to 
consider  "  the  propriety  of  subscribing  towards  the  expense  of 
clothing  for  the  corps  of  volunteers  ;"  but  as  this  motion  related  to 
cash  matters,  it  was  deferred  to  next  meeting,  which  was  held  on 
the  following  day,  when  they,  "with  one  dissenting,  voted  £,$0  for 
that  purpose."  ^  In  the  County  of  Renfrew  the  same  enthusiastic 
feeling  prevailed.  At  a  meeting  of  deputy- Heutenants,  landed  pro- 
prietors, and  magistrates  of  towns,  held  at  Paisley,  on  19th  Novem- 
ber, 1803,  the  Lord  Lieutenant  of  the  County,  ]\Ir.  Wm.  Macdowall  of 
Garthland,  presided,  and  referred  to  the  "loyal  spirit  and  patriotism 
that  had  induced  so  great  a  number  of  volunteers  to  offer  their 
services  in  every  parish  in  the  county,  and  the  zeal  and  perseverance 
which  those  who  had  been  selected  in  obedience  to  His  Majesty's 
commands  had  uniformly  manifested,  by  the  regular  attendance  at 
exercise  and  constant  attention  to  discipHne.  and  represented  the 
importance  of  supplying  the  Volunteers  of  Renfrewshire  with 
comfortable  clothing  and  other  necessaries  at  this  momentous  crisis, 
when  there  was  every  reason  to  expect  they  would  be  called  out  to 
actual  service."  The  meeting  "  after  a  full  discussion  of  the  subject, 
and  the  examination  of  an  estimate  laid  before  them  by  the  Lord 
Lieutentant,  unanimously  resolved  to  assess  themselves  at  the  rate 
of  one  shining  for  each  pound  scots  of  their  valued  rent,  to  be  paid 
in  two  years  by  instalments,  for  providing  in  aid  of  the  allowances 
granted  by  government,  clothing  and  such  other  necessaries  as  may 
be  deemed  useful  to  the  volunteers  of  the  county." 

Sir  Walter  Scott,  in  his  admirable  work,  The  Antiquary  (vol. 
iii.,  p.  2>?)Z  y  First  edition),  appropriately  expresses  the  enthuiasm 
which  prevailed  at  this  time  when  he  makes  Bailie  Littlejohn,  of  an 
earlier  period,  exclaim,  when  billets  were  wanted  in  Fairport  for 
the  volunteer  corps  and  their  horses,  "  let  us  take  the  horses  into 
our  wash-houses  and  the  men  into  our  parlour,  share  our  supper  with 
the  one  and  our  forage  with  the  other.  We  have  made  ourselves 
wealthy  under  a  free  and  paternal  government,  and  now  is  the  time 

^  The  officers  of  the  Volunteer  Coips  leased  for  drill  exercise  the  field  f  oitnerly 
used  by  them,  from  the  Town  Council,  at  an  annual  rent  of  £^i.  That  field  is 
now  part  of  the  site  of  the  present  coal  depot,  belonging  to  the  Caledonian 
Railway  Coy.,  in  Underwood  Street,  and  of  the  timber-yard  and  works  of  Messrs. 
John  Young  &  Co. 


l8oO    TILL    1825.  lit 

to  show  we  know  its  value."  Before  the  end  of  this  summer, 
upwards  of  300,000  volunteers  had  been  accepted  and  enrolled 
throughout  the  country,  and  of  these  Renfrewshire  supplied 
2701  infantry.  John  Parkhill,  already  referred  to  as  writing 
under  the  nojii  de  plume  of  Arthur  Sneddon,  joined  the  volun- 
teers, and  says  regarding  them: — "Two  regiments  of  volunteers 
had  been  raised,  one  about  a  thousand  strong,  by  Mr.  William 
I\I,Kerrell ;  and  another,  the  second  regiment,  nearly  three  hundred 
strong,  was  raised  under  the  auspices  of  the  magistrates  and  council. 
This  second  regiment  bought  their  own  clothes,  which  consisted  of 
a  scarlet  coat  with  yellow  facings,  white  small  clothes,  and  black 
gaiters.  ^  The  cap  was  of  the  sugar  loaf  pattern,  high  in  the  crown, 
with  two  gold  plated  chains  which  hung  in  festoon  style  from  the 
top.  The  whole  dress  was  most  becoming,  and  the  regiment  had 
a  very  smart  appearance,  carrying  a  number  of  rather  old  fellows  in 
the  ranks,  which  precluded  the  possibility  of  having  a  very  good 
line.  Thecolonel  was  Robert  Fulton,  Esq.,  of  Hartfield.  Mr.  Camp- 
bell, the  Sheriff,  was  major.  The  Sheriff  at  that  time  was  newly  off 
the  irons  at  Edinburgh,  about  twenty-seven  years  of  age,  and  alto- 
gether a  sprightly  young  fellow.  The  captains  were  Mr.  Twigg,  Robert 
Orr,  of  Lylesland ;  Mr.  John  Pollock,  of  JMaxwelton ;  and  Bailie 
Davidson.  ...  I  was  also  a  member  of  the  above  second 
regiment,  and  obtained  a  tolerable  knowledge  of  military  tactics. 
Each  of  the  regiments  had  occasional  meetings  in  the  event  of  a 
victory  or  an  illumination.  I  was,  of  course,  also  initiated  in 
everything  connected  with  local  and  social  life.  In  addition 
to  this,  the  regiment  was  on  permanent  duty  for  a  fortnight. 
And  in  looking  back,  I  am  of  opinion  that  this  was  the  happiest 
period  of  my  life.  Our  first  fortnight  of  permanent  duty  was 
in  Paisley.  This  took  place  in  midsummer.  The  weather 
was  fine ;  and  our  worthy  old  colonel  was  a  very  considerate  man, 
and  did  not  fatigue  us  with  severe  drill.  ^Ve  went,  however, 
through  all  the  movements  of  a  regular  regiment,  even  to  the 
receiving  of  the  tommy.  Next  year  we  went  to  Greenock,  marching 
sixteen  miles.  This  was  also  in  midsummer.  We  were  billeted  up 
and  down  Greenock.  Our  parade  ground  was  the  square  ;  but  our 
field  for  drill  was  nearly  half  a  mile  from  the  town.  To  it  we 
marched  every  forenoon,  accompanied  by  a  large  concourse  of  boys 
and  girls,  as  well  as  grown-up  people;  our  excellent  band  being  a 
great  inducement  for  this  promiscuous  following.  At  the  evening 
parade,  on  the  square,  we  had  an  equally  good  attendance ;  and  on 
Sunday  it  was  still  larger.  The  regiment,  when  under  parade  there, 
owing  to  the  small  extent  of  the  ground,  had  to  form  a  hollow 
square ;  and  within  the  same  the  whole  elite  of  the  town  favoured 
us  with  their  presence.  Our  famous  band  was  the  great  attraction  ; 
here,  for  upwards  of  an  hour,  they  performed  to  the  admiring  crowd. 

^  They  had  an  excellent  band,  of  which  Duncan  Henderson  vas  the  leader. 
R.  A.  Smith  was  also  a  member  of  the  band. 


1 1  2  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEV. 

The  tunes  were  chiefly  the  most  celebrated ;  but  I  must  acknowledge 
that,  with  a  few  exceptions,  they  were  of  a  pathetic  character. 
'  'I'he  Yellow  Hair'd  Laddie,'  '  The  Bush  aboon  Traquair,'  '  The 
Broom  o'  the  Cowden  Knowes,'  *  Logie  o'  Buchan,'  and  'The 
Flowers  of  the  Forest,'  were  amongst  the  favourites.  We  generally 
finished  with  '  The  Wife  that  had  the  Wee  Pickle  Tow '  which 
unfortunately  took  fire.  We  had  a  very  pleasant  time  of  it.  The 
war  was  at  the  hottest ;  and  the  merchant  vessels  that  had  to  come 
from  or  go  to  a  distance,  had,  for  safety,  to  be  in  fleets,  with  a 
frigate  or  two  as  a  guard  or  convoy.  At  this  time  two  or  three  fleets, 
of  upwards  of  twenty  large  vessels  each,  came  to  Greenock  and 
Port -Glasgow.  They  were  from  the  West  Indies,  and  loaded  with 
rum  and  sugar.  They  had  very  rich  cargoes  ;  and  the  rum  which 
they  brought  was  largely  participated  in  by  us,  the  military 
defenders  of  the  empire.  Greenock,  during  the  period  of  the  fleet 
arrivals,  was  quite  in  a  state  of  carnival,  and  fraternised  with  us  in 
the  kindest  manner.  After  enjoying  ourselves  well  in  this  expedition, 
our  term  of  duty  expired,  and  the  day  at  length  came  for  us  to 
return  home.  Our  arrangements  in  regard  to  baggage  waggons  and 
the  other  necessities  of  the  march,  were  upon  a  style  of  military 
greatness  of  a  most  imposing  character.  We  were  to  start  early  in 
the  morning ;  but  there  were  so  many  farewells  to  take,  that  it  was 
nine  o'clock  before  we  could  get  gathered  together.  I  was  put  on 
the  baggage  guard  ;  and  at  last  the  band  struck  up  "  And  from 
sweet  Barr  we  parted,"  and  so  we  were  off"  with  a  convoy  of  some 
thousands.  It  was  a  great  difficulty  for  us  to  keep  the  stragglers  in 
order.  The  rum  had  been  very  generally  distributed,  and  of  course 
military  discipline  was  greatly  despised.  Home  at  length  we  came, 
which  finished  our  second  term  of  permanent  duty.  During  this 
year  we  were  reviewed,  down  at  Walkinshaw,  by  General  the  Earl 
of  Moira  and  Brigadier- General  Elphinston.  This  was  the  greatest 
field-day  we  ever  had  during  our  servitude.  The  whole  volunteers 
in  the  county  were  brigaded  together,  and  I  suppose  they  amounted 
to  nearly  5000  men.  It  was  a  brilliant  day,  and  all  the  beauty  and 
fashion  of  the  surrounding  country  were  present.  The  public  works 
were  stopped,  and  it  was  a  general  and  joyous  holiday  to  all  classes. 
'  Loudon's  Bonnie  Woods  and  Braes '  was  resounding  from  all 
quarters.  Next  year  our  permanent  duty  was  performed  in  Saltcoats  ; 
it  was  in  midsummer  also,  and  the  march  was  rather  longer  than  to 
Greenock,  but  the  pleasure  and  the  weather  were  much  more  in 
accordance  with  our  tastes.  We  left  Paisley  at  seven  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  and  had  a  great  following ;  Saltcoats  being  a  favourite 
watering-place  for  Paisley.  About  a  mile  beyond  Beith,  we  had  a 
picnic  breakfast  in  a  large  field.  There  was  abundance  of  bread 
and  cheese,  and  plenty  of  porter  (London  and  Scotch)  to  wash  them 
down.  After  resting  an  hour,  we  started,  and  reached  Saltcoats  in 
the  afternoon.  Here  billets  were  ready  for  us.  Our  parade-ground 
was  in  the  main  street,  and  our  drill  about  half  a  mile  in  the  country. 
The  weather  was  particularly  fine,  and  our  proximity  to  the  sea  made 


l8oo   TILL    1825.  tt;J 

everything  delightful.  There  was  not  so  much  rum  here  as  in 
Greenock  ;  but  to  make  amends,  we  had  plenty  of  milk.  The 
people  and  we  were  very  friendly,  and  we  were  truly  sorry  to  part 
with  them.  This  method  was  well  calculated  to  make  volunteering 
popular ;  and  all  those  engaged  in  it  held  it  ever  afterwards  in 
happy  remembrance"  (Arthur  Sneddon,  p.  37). 

Such  was  the  jovial  and  happy  life  which,  according  to  one 
of  their  own  number,  the  volunteers  led.  Although  the  war  on  the 
Continent  of  Europe  continued,  and  the  volunteer  scheme  remained 
in  force,  yet  the  government  gradually  began  to  give  the  greatest 
encouragement  to  the  militia,  so  as  to  increase  their  number  and 
improve  their  efficiency.  Volunteering  had  the  effect  of  unsettling 
the  minds  of  those  who  were  closely  engaged  in  business  ;  and  that, 
along  with  other  causes,  induced  the  government  to  till,  by  ballot, 
the  ranks  of  the  militia,  as  the  more  reliable  nursery  for  the  regular 
army.  The  act  to  raise  and  establish  a  militia  force  in  Scotland, 
was  passed  on  26th  June,  1802  ;  and  every  person  from  eighteen  to 
forty -five  years  of  age,  who  did  not  come  under  the  exemptions 
specified  in  the  act,  was  enrolled  and  made  liable  to  serve.  On 
loth  September  following,  the  articles  and  rules  of  the  Paisley 
Militia  Society  were  approved  of  by  the  Magistrates.  The  objects 
this  society  had  in  view  were  very  commendable,  and  were  after- 
wards of  essential  service  to  the  inhabitants.  The  society  was 
divided  into  eight  sections,  each  consisting  of  not  less  than  sixty 
members  liable  to  be  enrolled  under  the  militia  act,  and  desirous  of 
being  protected  from  the  consequences  of  that  act.  Those 
subscribing  the  articles  before  24th  September  had  to  pay  5s.,  and 
5s.  on  till  15th  October  ;  and  those  who  joined  after  the  latter  date 
had  to  pay  iis.  Members  balloted  were  not  entitled  to  protection 
till  they  procured  sufficient  caution,  or  i)aid  ^i  is.  into  the  funds 
as  a  pledge  for  future  payments  for  five  years.  The  committee  in 
each  section  was  empowered  to  provide  substitutes  for  all  members 
balloted ;  and  when  such  could  not  be  found,  to  pay  the  penalty 
prescribed  by  Act  of  Parliament.  Afterwards,  several  societies  of 
this  kind  were  formed  in  the  town  ;  but  from  the  jarring  interests 
that  prevailed  among  so  many,  they  were  all  dissolved,  and  one 
society,  called  the  Paisley  Militia  Society,  was  formed  in  their  place. 
In  181 7,  the  rules  were  altered  to  meet  the  amended  acts  passed 
between  1802  and  1817,  and  they  were  published  in  pamphlet  form 
in  1821, 

The  continuation  of  the  war  with  France  was  the  means  of 
sustaining  the  military  spirit  of  the  nation ;  and  the  drilling  and 
training  of  the  volunteers  and  militia  connected  with  Paisley  were 
actively  carried  on.  From  a  return,  dated  12th  November,  1806, 
we  learn  that  the  officers  of  the  Paisley  first  regiment  of  volunteers 
were  as  follows: — -Lieutenant- colonel  commanding,  William 
M'Kerrell ;  heutenant-colonel,  Robert  Maxwell ;  major,  John 
Bisset ;  captains,  Robert  Hart,  Fulton  M'Kerrell,  William  Bissland, 
John  Snodgrass,  and    Oliver  Jamieson;     lieutenants,   John    Orr, 


114  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY, 

John  Buchanan,  Nathan  Gibson,  Gavin  Maxwell,  William  Murray, 
AVilliam  Gififen,  William  Stirling,  Charles  Downie,  James  Muir, 
Charles  Fraser,  Francis  Martin,  and  Thomas  Sharp ;  ensigns,  John 
M'Lellan,  Charles  Peacock,  Thomas  Campbell,  and  James  Camp- 
bell; adjutant,  Campbell  Snodgrass  ;  chaplain.  Rev.  James  Smith; 
surgeon,  James  Muir;  assistant-surgeon,  Robert  M'Kechnie; 
quartermaster,  Thomas  Campbell. 

The  officers  in  the  Paisley  second  regiment  were  as  follows  :  — 
lieutenant-colonel,  Robert  Fulton;  major,  Alexander  Campbell; 
captains,  John  Davidson,  WiUiam  Twigg,  Robert  Orr,  and  John 
Pollock  ;  lieutenants,  Alexander  Macahster,  John  Motherwell,  F. 
Orr,  and  John  Bell ;  ensigns,  Alexander  Pollock,  Hugh  Vallance, 
and  James  Wliyte  ;  quartermaster,  Andrew  Dunn  ;  surgeon,  Robert 
Watt;  assistant -surgeon,  Thomas  Richmond;  paymaster,  Hugh 
Vallance. 

In  1807  and  1808,  additional  alarm  was  caused  in  this  country 
by  the  continued  successes  of  Napoleon,  now  Emperor  of  the 
French,  who  appeared  to  be  making  preparations  for  the  invasion 
of  Britain.  It  was  resolved  that  additional  preparations  were 
necessary  on  the  part  of  Britain  ;  and  Renfrewshire,  always  foremost, 
raised  and  embodied  no  less  than  three  additional  regiments,  which 
were  named  respectively  the  First,  Second,  and  Third  Regiments  of 
Renfrewshire  Local  Militia.  They  were  commanded  by  lieutenant- 
colonels  Boyd  Alexander,  William  Mure  of  Caldwell,  and  William 
M'Kerrell.  These  regiments  remained  embodied  till  the  close  of 
the  war. 

At  this  period,  the  Magistrates  and  Town  Council  presented  to 
His  Majesty  the  King  the  follo^\^ng  able  and  patriotic  address  :  — 
"  But  while  the  times  are  difficult,  and  the  contest  most  arduous, 
and  while  the  nation  must  submit  to  privations  hitherto  unexperi- 
enced, we  are  very  far  from  yielding  to,  or  indulging,  sentiments  of 
despondency  and  despair.  Our  resources  are  still  most  ample;  and 
there  exists  in  the  empire  a  native  spirit  of  loyalty  and  subordination 
which,  rightly  directed,  cannot  fail,  under  the  blessing  of  Providence, 
to  secure  us  from  the  hostilities  of  our  enemies  and  the  s\'stematic 
inveteracy  of  the  general  disturber  of  the  nation.  Satisfied,  then, 
that  the  most  vigorous  measures  are  necessary  to  counteract  the 
daring  and  ambitious  designs  of  the  foe,  we  humbly  presume  to 
assure  your  Majesty  of  our  most  cordial  support  and  co-operation 
in  every  undertaking  which  is  calculated  to  the  safety  of  our  country 
and  to  promote  the  prosperity  and  happiness  of  the  people." 

Before  the  middle  of  this  century  the  Renfrewshire  Militia  were 
disbanded  ;  but  in  1854  they  were  again,  on  account  of  the  Russian 
war,  embodied  by  Act  of  Parliament.  They  mustered  for  the  first 
time  on  25th  January,  1855.  The  officers  were  —  Sir  J.  M. 
Napier,  Bart,  of  Milliken,  colonel  -  commandant ;  Mr.  WiUiam  C. 
Bontine,  major;  Mr.  James  Lowndes  and  Mr.  James  Stewart, 
captains ;   Mr.  F.  R.  Reid  and   Mr.    Daniel   Shaw- Stewart,   lieu- 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  tig 

tenants  ;  and  Mr.  William  Cunningham,  ensign.  On  4th  January, 
in  the  following  year,  the  Earl  of  Glasgow  presented  to  the  militia, 
in  the  Barracks  Square,  a  stand  of  new  colours  ;  and  at  this  muster, 
colonel  Sir  J.  M.  Napier  stated  that,  although  the  regiment  had 
only  been  twelve  months  embodied,  it  had  furnished  three  hundred 
men  to  the  regular  army  and  was  still  five  hundred  strong.  The 
gallant  colonel  further  intimated  that  Her  ^Majesty,  as  a  mark  of 
her  approbation  of  their  good  conduct,  had  been  graciously  pleased 
to  call  it  the  "  Prince  of  Wales'  Own."  On  the  same  evening  the 
officers  of  the  regiment  gave  a  grand  ball  in  the  Abercorn  Rooms, 
to  a  large  and  fashionable  party,  in  honour  of  the  presentation  of 
the  new  colours. 

The  County  Commissioners  of  Supply,  as  empowered  by  a  recent 
Act  of  Parhament,  agreed,  at  a  meeting  held  on  23rd  July,  1856,  to 
provide  stores  for  the  arms  and  accoutrements  of  the  militia  when 
disembodied.  The  building  was  erected  on  a  field  which  they 
bought  at  Williamsburgh,  nearly  opposite  the  barracks,  at  the  end 
of  a  lane  leading  from  the  public  road.  It  is  plain  and  unpretentious, 
one  storey  in  height,  and  so  much  secluded  that  we  are  sure  one 
half  of  the  inhabitants  are  not  aware  of  the  existence  of  such  a  public 
building.  It  consists  of  orderly  and  guard  rooms,  colonel  and  staff" 
officers'  rooms  and  kitchen,  store  room  and  armoury  room,  armoury 
shop,  day  or  mess  room,  rooms  for  quartering  the  men,  powder 
magazine,  mustering  yard,  and  other  conveniences.  About  six 
hundred  stand  of  fire  arms,  an  equal  number  of  bayonets,  the 
cartridge  boxes,  the  band  instruments,  and  the  clothes  of  the 
regiment,  are  accommodated  therein.  The  building  cost  ;£2,;^^o, 
including  ^^225  for  the  price  of  the  ground;  and  when  it  was 
completed,  the  arms  of  the  militia,  which  had  been  removed  from 
the  County  Buildings  to  the  Barracks,  in  October,  1831,  for  greater 
safety,  were  safely  placed  within  its  walls.  This  money  was  raised, 
by  assessment,  over  the  whole  county,  —  the  landward  parts 
contributing  ^i,3S5  ^7^-  5  Greenock,  ;^496  iis.;  Paisley, 
^400  los.;  Port-Glasgow,  ^71  17s.  6d.;  and  Renfrew,  ;i^25  4s.  6d. 
The  men  generally  muster  for  drill  once  a  year  on  the  moor  at 
Irvine.  The  officers  for  1883  were: — Hon.  colonel.  Sir  J.  M. 
Napier,  Bart.;  lieutenant-colonel.  Sir  Archibald  Campbell,  Bart.; 
majors,  William  Cuninghame  and  Alexander  Boyd  ;  captains,  Robert 
Anderson,  G.  L.  Houstoun,  A.  C.  D.  Dick,  M.  D,  Campbell, 
M.  H.  Shaw-Stewart,  A.  J.  Blacket  Ord,  J.  C.  Cuninghame,  and 
the  Hon.  T.  H.  A.  E.  Cochrane  ;  lieutenants,  W.  R.  Shaw-Stewart, 
H.  R.  Wallace,  W.  G.  Peareth,  P.  W.  J.  Alexander,  D.  C.  Guthrie, 
C.  H.  Fenwick,  C.  W.  E.  Milborne  Swinerton  Pilkinton,  and 
A.  Murray;  captain  and  adjutant,  H.  G.  Fallowfield ;  quarter- 
master, Alexander  Barr;  surgeon -major,  Thomas  Graham;  ser- 
geant-major, William  Pettigrew  (warrant  officer). 

When  the  Honourable  Spencer  Perceval,  Prime  Minister,  was 
assassinated  in  the  lobby  of  the  House  of  Commons  by  Bellingham, 


il6  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

on  iith  May,  1812,  the  Magistrates  and  Council  sent  an  address  of 
condolence  to  His  Royal  Highness  the  Prince  Regent.  And  on 
the  declaration  of  peace,  in  18 14,  they  voted,  on  loth  May  in  that 
year,  an  address  to  the  Prince  Regent,  expressing  their  loyalty,  and 
rejoicing  "in  the  happy  prospect  now  afforded  of  a  termination  of 
the  calamities  of  war  and  a  speedy  restoration  of  the  royalty, 
liberty,  and  independence  of  those  nations  in  Europe  which  had 
been  long  enthralled  by  lawless  and  tyrannic  domination." 

Hitherto  we  have  frequently  had  occasion  to  narrate  many  inter- 
esting matters  relating  to  the  ToUbooth,  which  was  now  generally 
called  the  Jail.     In  this  period  the  incidents  connected  with  it  were 
somewhat  important,  for  one  of  them  refers  to  its  being  taken  down 
and  built  in  another  part  of  the  town  in  connection  with  the  County 
Buildings. 

On  18th  November,  1800,  the  Council  fixed  the  yearly  salary  of 
the  jailer  at  ;^2o ;  and  on  the   20th   December  following,  agreed 
that  the  fees  to  be  exacted  and  regulations  to  be  observed  in  the 
Tollbooth  should  be  as  follows  :  — 
I  St.  Every  burgess  incarcerated  shall,  during  his  con- 
finement, pay  for  Jail  fee  for  each  night,  . . .  ;£o     o     2 
2nd.  Every  person  not  a  burgess,           ...          ...  ...       004 

3rd.  For  every  person  imprisoned,  by  virtue  of  an  act 
of  warding,    the  jailer   shall   be   paid    by    the 
incarcerator,         ...  ...  ...  ...  ...       o     i     o 

4th.  For  every  person  imprisoned,  in  virtue  of  a  written 
warrant  from  a  Magistrate,  a  Justice  of  Peace  or 
Sheriff,  the  jailer  shall  be  paid  by  the  incarcerator,       012 
5th.  For  every  person  imprisoned,  by  virtue  of  a  caption, 
justiciary,  or  admiral  warrant,  the  jailer  shall  be 
paid   by  the  incarcerator,   if  the  prisoner  is  a 
burgess,    ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...       o     2     6 

6th.  If  an  unfreeman,     ...  ...  ...  ...  ...       o     5     o 

7th.  The  jailer,  on  signing  an  attestation  of  a  commit- 
ment, shall  receive  ...  ...  ...  ...       o     i     o 

8th.  And   on   delivery    up    of    diligence    to    persons 
neglecting  to  require  the  same  within  eight  days 
after  the  prisoner's  liberation,  he  shall  receive       010 
But  if  the   Procurator- Fiscal  be  concerned  in  any  of 
the   above   diligences,    the   jailer   shall  receive 
nothing. 
9th.  The  Town -Clerk  shall  be  entitled  for  keeping  the 
Records  of  each  of  the  articles  aforesaid,  viz., 
Nos.  3,  4,  5,  6  for  every  person  incarcerated, 
and  to  be  paid  to  him  by  the  jailer  as  usual,  and 
the  warrants  to  be  delivered  by  the  jailer  to  him 
as  soon  as  the  prisoners  are  liberated,  ...  ...       o     o     2 

loth.  The    jailer    shall    collect    from    each    prisoner 

liberated,  and  pay  to  the  clerk  for  his  liberation.       003 


l8oO    TILL    1S25.  117 

Rules  to  be  observed  by  the  Jailer  and  /lis  ser'c'ants :  — 

ist.  The  jailer  shall  not,  by  hhiiself  or  any  of  his  servants, 
directly  or  indirectly,  demand  or  receive  from  any  prisoner,  or  from 
any  person,  in  his  or  her  name,  at  entry,  or  during  his  or  her 
confinement,  any  sums  of  money  under  the  name  of  entry-money, 
garnishing,  or  any  other  denomination,  separate  from  and_over  and 
above  the  fees  stipulated  as  above.  Further,  the  jailer  shall  not 
suffer  any  of  the  prisoners  to  make  demands  of  money  or  drink 
from  persons  newly  incarcerated,  on  any  pretence  whatever. 

2nd.  The  prison  shall  be  opened  no  sooner  than  nine  in  the 
morning  for  the  admission  of  visitants,  and  shall  continue  open  for 
that  purpose  till  three  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  when  the  Jail  shall 
be  shut;  and  again  opened  at  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  and 
shall  continue  open  till  nine  o'clock  at  night,  and  no  longer,  for  the 
admission  of  visitants.  Only  on  Sundays  the  prison  shall  be  shut 
during  public  worship.  And  the  jailer  is  always  to  keep  the  whole 
keys  of  the  prison  in  his  own  custody  while  it  is  shut  up,  and  not 
entrust  them  with  any  of  the  servants. 

3rd.  The  jailer  shall,  every  morning  and  evening,  at  the  opening 
and  before  shutting  up  the  prison,  personally  visit  every  room  and 
place  therein,  carefully  inspect  the  windows,  chimneys,  and  bolts 
thereof,  in  order  to  prevent  and  discover  all  attempts  to  cut  the 
iron  staunchers  or  to  break  through  the  stone  walls,  joists,  and 
floors  of  the  prison.  And  he  shall  take  particular  care  that  no 
instruments  be  conveyed  to,  or  be  in  the  possession  of,  any  of  the 
prisoners,  whereby  they  may  effectuate  their  escape  or  hurt  one 
another.  And  in  case  the  jailer  shall,  through  indisposition,  be 
prevented  from  the  execution  of  his  duty,  he  shall  take  care  to 
employ  some  faithful  person  in  his  absence. 

4th.  The  jailer  and  his  servants  are  expressly  prohibited,  on  any 
account,  to  sell  or  suffer  to  be  brought  in  to  any  of  the  prisoners 
spirits  or  strong  liquor,  whereby  they  be  in  danger  of  being  intoxi- 
cated, and  to  use  their  utmost  endeavour  to  promote  sobriety  among 
those  under  their  charge. 

5th.  The  jailer  shall  keep  the  prisoners  for  debt  in  the  best 
rooms,  and  separate  from  criminals  and  disorderly  persons,  and 
prevent,  as  much  as  possible,  their  associating  and  conversing 
together ;  and  the  friends  and  servants  of  debtors  shall  be  allowed, 
at  all  convenient  times,  to  bring  in  vivers  for  their  support. 

6th.  In  order  to  make  the  prison  more  healthy  and  clean,  the 
jailer  shall,  at  own  expense,  clean  the  stairs,  sweep  the  rooms  and 
passages,  and  remove  and  carry  away  all  filth  and  nastiness,  at  least 
three  times  in  the  week. 

7th.  The  jailer,  in  the  event  of  his  exacting  by  himself  or  his 
servants  more  fees  than  are  stipulated  as  above,  or  in  the  event  of 
his  transgressing  any  of  the  rules  or  instructions  foresaid,  shall  be 


Il8  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY 

dismissed  from  his  office,  or  otherwise  punished  as  the  Magistrates 
for  the  time  being  and  Council  shall  judge  proper. 

It  is  recommended  to  the  Magistrates  frequently  to  examine  and 
enquire  into  the  fidelity  of  the  jailer  and  his  servants ;  and  the 
Council  hereby  ordain  these  dues  and  regulations  to  be  printed  and 
published,  and  ordain  the  jailer  for  the  time  being  to  affix  a  copy 
thereof  in  the  most  conspicuous  part  of  the  ToUbooth. 

Besides  the  yearly  salary  of  ;^2o  received  by  the  jailer,  he  had, 
in  addition,  the  foregoing  fees  which  are  so  minutely  described,  and 
the  profits  arising  from  the  sale  of  malt  liquors  in  the  Jail,  which,  no 
doubt,  would  be  considerable.  Mr.  Hector,  in  his  Judicial  Records 
of  Renfrewshire,  states  that,  in  1794,  there  were  one  hundred  and 
thirty-six  civil  and  forty-four  criminal  prisoners;  and  in  1801, 
one  hundred  and  twenty-one  civil  and  sixty-eight  criminal 
prisoners.  Spirituous  liquors  were  neither  sold  in  the  Jail,  nor,  as 
may  be  seen  from  these  excellent  rules,  permitted  to  be  brought 
into  it.  The  jailer  had  to  pay  out  of  his  emoluments  at  least  one 
assistant.  On  4th  March,  1801,  William  Hart  sent  a  letter  to  the 
Council  agreeing  to  accept  the  office  of  jailer,  and  offered  his  two 
sons  as  sureties.  The  Council  agreed  to  this,  on  condition  that  he 
gave  a  third  cautioner,  and  that  they  might  have  this  and  their  bond 
for  ^500.  On  5th  November,  1808,  the  Council  judged  it  proper 
to  associate  John  Hart  in  the  office  of  jailer  with  his  father,  and  to 
ordain  that  the  new  bond  should  stipulate  for  six  months'  notice 
previous  to  their  resignation. 

The  unsatisfactory  condition  of  the  Paisley  Prison  and  Court- 
house had  frequently  engaged  the  attention  of  the  Town  Council, 
the  Justices  of  Peace,  and  the  Commissioners  of  Supply  for  the 
County.  When  these  buildings  were  re-erected  in  1758,  the 
population  of  the  town  was  only  about  5000 ;  but  at  the  time  we 
have  arrived  at,  it  amounted  to  upwards  of  30,000.  The  population 
in  the  country  parishes  had  also  greatly  increased.  It  cannot, 
therefore,  be  matter  of  surprise  that  the  prison  and  court-house 
accommodation  had  become  totally  inadequate.  The  Jail  itself, 
also,  was  ill  adapted  for  the  safe  custody  of  the  prisoners.  It  was 
not,  however,  till  181 2  that  the  Council  had  seriously  under  their 
consideration  the  rebuilding  of  the  Jail  and  public  offices  in  a  more 
suitable  part  of  the  town.  On  3rd  November  in  that  year,  the 
Provost  intimated  to  the  Council  that,  having  attended  a  meeting 
of  Commissioners  of  Supply  and  Justices  of  Peace  at  the  Quarter 
Sessions,  in  Renfrew,  he  presented  a  memorial  which  had  been 
previously  prepared  and  approved  by  the  Magistrates,  submitting  to 
the  meeting  the  propriety  and  necessity  of  their  contributing 
towards  the  much -wanted  enlargement  of  the  present  prison,  and 
the  providing  of  beds  and  bed-clothes  for  those  prisoners  who  were 
destitute  of  these  necessary  comforts.  The  Provost  further  stated 
that  the  memorial  had  been  well  received,  and  the  Sheriff- Depute 
of  the   County   had   also   urged   the   necessity   of  estabUshing  a 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  119 

Bridewell  or  Workhouse  in  the  town.  The  Commissioners  of 
Supply  entered  with  great  promptitude  and  earnestness  into  the 
proposal  to  have  a  new  prison  and  other  public  buildings.  They 
expressed  their  approval  of  the  contribution,  viz.,  ;^i5oo,  which 
the  Council  offered  towards  the  expense  of  the  proposed  buildings, 
the  Council  retaining  the  old  Jail,  which  was  valued  at  ;^i2oo. 
The  important  matter  of  the  accommodation  required  by  the 
community  in  these  buildings  was  also,  after  some  conferences, 
satisfactorily  arranged,  before  November,  18 14  (Council  Records). 
During  the  two  subsequent  years,  the  same  active  progress  was  not 
made  in  the  prosecution  of  this  important  matter. 

In  the  meantime,  on  the  evening  between  the  24th  and  25th 
August,  1 81 7,  the  Jail  was  broken,  and  two  prisoners  escaped.  One 
of  them,  named  William  Broadfoot,  twenty -four  years  of  age,  had 
been  imprisoned  on  a  charge  of  stealing  a  promissory  note  of  the 
Paisley  Bank,  of  forging  the  signature  of  the  person  to  whom  the 
note  was  payable,  and  obtaining  payment  of  the  contents  from  the 
bank.  He  was  at  one  time  in  the  corps  of  Artillery  Drivers,  but 
was  latterly  employed  as  a  cooper  at  Neilston.  The  other  prisoner, 
named  Alexander  Forbes,  nineteen  years  of  age,  had  been  imprisoned 
on  a  charge  of  housebreaking  and  theft.  He  was  a  clothlapper  to 
trade,  in  Glasgow,  and  was  well  known  to  the  police  there,  having 
been  repeatedly  in  custody  in  the  Jail  of  that  city.  The  Provost 
and  Magistrates  offered  a  reward  of  ^20  to  anyone  who  would 
apprehend  Broadfoot,  and  £,\o  for  the  apprehension  of  Forbes,  but, 
so  far  as  we  can  learn,  without  success. 

After  the  erection  of  the  buildings  had  proceeded  some  length, 
an  important  alteration  was  ])roposed  by  the  Commissioners  under 
the  Act  of  Parliament,  viz.,  the  putting  of  an  additional  storey  upon 
the  Jail  and  Bridewell,  —  that  is,  making  them  four  storeys  high 
instead  of  three.  This  matter  was  brought  before  the  Council  on 
4th  May,  1 81 9,  and,  from  a  variety  of  considerations,  they  most 
cordially  approved  of  the  proposed  alterations. 

When  the  subject  of  providing  furniture  for  some  portions  of  the 
building  came  to  be  considered,  the  Council  were  of  opinion  that 
if  the  County  Hall,  Sheriff's  apartments,  &c.,  were  to  be  furnished 
from  the  assessed  funds,  it  appeared  reasonable  that  the  same  allow- 
ance should  be  extended  to  the  Council  Chambers  and  other  apart- 
ments allotted  to  the  community  ( Council  Records,  26th  Jan.,  1821). 

When  the  buildings  were  all  but  completed,  the  question  naturally 
arose,  by  what  name  should  they  be  known  ?  The  Town  Council 
( Council  Records,  22nd  March,  182 1)  recommended  the  Magistrates 
to  have  a  conference  with  the  Commissioners  under  the  Act  of 
Parliament  regarding  "  the  propriety  of  designating  these  buildings 
by  the  appellation  of  'The  Castle,'  or  some  such  appropriate  name." 
But  the  preponderating  number  of  county  gentlemen  who  were 
Commissioners,  ruled  that  they  should  be  called  the  County 
Buildings,  notwithstanding  that  a  considerable  part  of  the  funds 
were  provided  by  the  Town  of  Paisley. 


T20 


HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 


At  a  meeting  of  the  Town  Council  held  on  Sth  August,  1823, 
the  Town  Clerk  produced  copy  of  act  and  warrant  received  that 
day  from  the  Clerk  to  the  Commissioners,  declaring  the  south 
division  of  the  prison  buildings  of  Paisley  a  legal  Jail,  and 
authorising  the  removal  of  the  prisoners  from  the  old  to  the  new 
prison  ;  and  the  important  document  was  appointed  to  be  deposited 
in  the  Charter  chest  for  security. 

The  form  of  the  County  Buildings  —  the  total  expense  of  which, 
including  the  Jail,  was  ^28,000  —  is  quadrangular.  They  are 
turreted  and  embattled,  and  have  a  most  commanding  and  imposing 
appearance.  The  elevation,  for  beauty  of  design  and  substantial 
elegance,  is  not  excelled  by  any  edifice  of  the  same  description  in 
Scotland.  We  give  an  architectural  elevation  of  this  building 
fronting  County  Square. 


COUNTY   BUILDINGS,    PAISLEY. 

The  prison  was  in  every  respect  most  complete  and  secure.^ 
The  portions  allocated  to  the  community  of  Paisley,  were  as 
follows : — - 

I  St.  There  is  given  over  and  appropriated  to  the  Provost  and 
Magistrates  of  Paisley,  as  such,  and  to  their  successors  in  office,  the 
south  half  division  of  the  prison  range  of  buildings,  with  the  several 
areas  and  yards  thereto  belonging.  2nd.  The  hall  in  the  centre  of 
the  front  building,  with  the  two  back  apartments  entering  from  the 
hall,  which  hall,  with  the  pertinents,  is  occupied  as  a  court-house 
for  the  accommodation  of  the  Sheriff  Court-house  of  Paisley,  in 

^  About  twenty-five  years  afterwards,  a  large  addition  was  made  to  the  Jail,  at 
an  expense  of  upwards  of  ;i^io,ooo. 

-Abridged  from  the  Council  Records  of  i8th  November,  1825. 


l800    TILL    1825.  121 

terms  of  the  said  act,  and  is  so  to  remain  and  to  be  upheld  conform 
to  the  said  act ;  also  the  joint  right  and  possession,  along  with  the 
Commissioners,  of  the  vestibule  between  the  court -hall  and  the 
main  door  of  the  said  buildings.  3rd.  The  south  wing  of  the  said 
front  buildings,  for  the  accommodation  of  the  Town  Council,  the 
Town  Clerk,  Chamberlain,  and  otherwise,  comprehending  those 
parts,  both  high  and  low,  of  the  said  buildings,  which  are  south  of 
the  said  court-hall  and  vestibule,  excepting  that  apartment  in  the 
upper  flat  immediately  adjoining  to,  and  entering  from,  the  county 
hall,  on  the  south,  and  excepting,  also,  what  is  appropriated  to 
Commissioners  of  the  Police  of  the  Burgh,  and  under  the  further 
reservation  of  the  use  and  privilege  of  the  convene  rooms,  as  the 
means  of  access  from  the  court- hall.  4th.  There  is  given  to  the 
Commissioners  of  Police  that  apartment  situated  on  the  south  end 
of  the  upper  flat  of  the  south  wing;  also  the  vaulted  apartment  in 
the  ground  flat,  called  the  ofticers'  hall,  and  of  the  two  lock-up 
rooms,  with  the  privilege  of  holding  their  evening  meetings  in  the 
convene  room ;  the  Commissioners  being  bound  to  maintain  the 
apartment  in  the  upper  floor,  and  to  defray  the  one  half  of  the 
expense  of  the  officers'  hall  and  lock-up  rooms,  the  Magistrates 
being  bound  to  defray  the  other  half 

On  Sunday  forenoon,  the  6th  March,  1825,  a  daring  attempt  was 
made  by  a  number  of  criminals,  confined  in  the  Jail,  to  make  their 
escape.  In  the  morning,  the  turnkey  neglected  to  secure  properly 
the  door  of  the  cell  where  a  prisoner,  named  Faulds,  was  confined. 
After  the  Jail  was  locked  up  for  the  forenoon,  Faulds  availed  himself 
of  the  liberty  thus  afforded  him ;  and  having  gained  access  to  the 
corridor,  he  unfastened  the  doors  of  the  cells,  which  during  the  day 
were  only  secured  by  a  large  cross  bar,  and  could,  therefore,  be 
opened  from  the  outside  without  a  key.  By  this  means  he  gained 
the  assistance  of  ten  other  prisoners,  and  the  united  efforts  of  the 
whole  were  directed  against  the  large  iron  gate  at  the  foot  of  the 
stair.  At  this  time  the  assistant  jailer  overheard  the  noise  created 
by  their  attempts  to  force  open  the  gate,  and  being  warned  also  by 
signals  from  a  woman  confined  above,  he  cautiously  entered,  and 
ascertained  that  a  number  of  the  prisoners  were  at  liberty.  He 
immediately  proceeded  to  the  square  outside,  where  he  procured 
the  assistance  of  a  part  of  the  79th  regiment,  who  fortunately  were 
at  the  time  assembled  in  front  of  the  County  Buildings  preparatory 
to  going  to  church.  On  entering  the  Jail,  the  military  and  police 
found  that  the  prisoners,  aware  that  their  design  to  escape  had  been 
discovered,  had  all  retired  to  their  cells,  where  Faulds  had  again 
secured  them. 

On  the  evening  of  24th  September,  1847,  ^  mysterious  escape 
was  made  from  the  prison  by  two  prisoners,  named  Thomas  M'Kay 
and  John  Campbell.  The  prison  was  left  at  night  in  a  proper 
condition  of  safety ;  and  the  turnkey,  on  the  following  morning, 
found  the  outer  door  open,  along  with  the  safety  gate.  The  gate 
had  the  appearance  of  having  been  forced,  as  there  were  marks  of 

I 


122  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

violence  discernible  on  it.  The  carriages  were  in  waiting  to  convey 
to  Glasgow  the  prisoners  who  were  indicted  for  trial  at  the  Circuit 
Court ;  and  it  was  when  the  turnkey  proceeded  to  bring  out  the 
prisoners  to  the  conveyance  that  the  doors  were  discovered  open. 
On  proceeding  up  stairs  he  found  that  the  cells  of  the  prisoners  men- 
tioned, who  were  indicted  on  the  charges  of  having  forced  open  the 
Post  Office  and  Renfreioshire  Advertiser  office,  had  also  been  broken 
open,  and  that  both  of  the  culprits  were  away.  On  examination, 
the  cells  on  the  same  corridor  were  all  right ;  but  on  going  up  stairs, 
it  was  ascertained  that  a  prisoner,  an  old  accomplice  of  the  two 
otliers,  was  likewise  off.  A  prisoner,  in  a  cell  adjoining  that  of 
M'Kay  and  Campbell,  stated  that  the  three  men  came  into  his  place 
about  eleven  o'clock,  and  said  they  had  orders  from  the  jailer  for  a 
ladder.  They  took  from  him  a  ladder  of  about  eight  feet  in  length, 
and  left.  The  ladder  was  got  at  the  back  wall  tied,  by  means  of 
ropes,  to  a  pair  of  common  shop  steps  used  about  the  prison.  A 
rope  was  also  tied  to  the  top  of  the  ladder,  and  hung  over  the  wall 
into  the  river.  By  this  means  the  escape  over  the  wall  was  effected; 
but  how  the  locks  were  opened  was  a  mystery.  It  was  quite 
impossible  that  anyone  could  do  it  from  the  inside  ;  and  the  only 
plausible  supposition  was,  that  it  had  been  effected  by  accomplices 
from  the  outside.  The  whole  affair  was  cleverly  managed.  Nothing 
was  heard  of  any  of  these  escaped  prisoners  till  January,  1850, 
when  M'Kay  was  found  to  be  one  of  the  artillerymen  in  Leith 
fort.  The  Renfrewshire  Fiscal  sent  through  two  officers  to  identify 
him,  on  the  14th  of  that  month,  and  bring  him  back  to  Paisley 
prison.  M'Kay  was  identified  and  put  in  the  guard-house,  until 
the  commanding  officer  had  given  his  sanction  to  have  him  removed. 
In  the  interim,  M'Kay  got  out  of  the  guard-house  on  some  pretext, 
and  managed  to  make  his  escape.  It  was  strongly  suspected  that 
some  of  the  military  connived  at  his  escape. 

On  the  removal  of  the  officials  of  the  Town  Council  and  court 
to  the  County  Buildings,  and  the  prisoners  to  the  new  Jail,  the 
Tollbooth  at  the  Cross  was  taken  down  and  rebuilt,  according  to 
plans  provided  by  Mr.  Reid,  the  architect  for  the  County  Buildings, 
and  added  to  the  Saracen's  Head  Inn.  We  have  already  given 
drawings  of  the  Steeple  and  Old  Tollbooth  as  they  stood,  before  the 
latter  was  thus  taken  down. 

Previous  to  1801,  the  money  transactions  of  the  Town  Council 
were  all  conducted  by  one  of  their  own  number,  who  was  called  the 
Treasurer.  On  the  one  hand,  he  collected  all  the  revenues  and 
received  what  money  was  borrowed ;  and  on  the  other  hand,  he 
disbursed  the  funds  according,  generally,  to  precepts  from  the  Town 
Clerk,  as  instructed  by  the  Town  Council.  As  a  rule,  his  intro- 
missions were  examined,  or,  as  it  was  frequently  termed  in  those 
days,  "  footed,"  every  quarter  by  a  committee  of  the  Council.  It  was 
unfortunately  not  the  practice  for  these  quarterly  statements  of  the 
Treasurer  to  be  given  up  to  the  Council  orTown  Clerk  for  preserva- 


l8oO   TILL    1825.  123 

tlon  ;  they  were  generally  retained  by  the  Treasurer  himself.  Those 
of  the  sixteenth  and  seventeenth  and  of  nearly  all  the  first  half  of 
the  eighteenth  centuries,  with  their  relative  vouchers,  are  therefore 
lost.  At  the  latter  end  of  the  eighteenth  century,  and  the  beginning 
of  the  present  century,  the  money  transactions  of  the  Council  had 
increased  so  much  that,  on  the  loih  October,  1800,  the  Council 
agreed  to  appoint  a  Chamberlain  to  manage  their  affairs,  and 
instructed  the  Magistrates  "  to  think  of  a  proper  person,  and  to 
report."  On  the  30th  January,  in  the  following  year,  the  Council, 
on  the  recommendation  of  the  Magistrates,  elected  Mr.  John  Patison 
to  be  Town  Chamberlain,  at  a  yearly  salary  of  ;^8o  ;  and  appointed 
a  committee  to  meet  with  him,  and  to  prepare  a  set  of  books  for 
his  regulation  in  the  execution  of  his  office ;  and  to  appoint  a  proper 
person  to  draw  a  plan  of  the  community's  lands.  The  Town 
Chamberlain's  office  was  first  in  the  Tollbooth  Buildings  at  the 
Cross,  and  afterwards  in  the  County  Buildings.  Mr.  Patison  held 
this  important  situation  till  181 2,  when  Mr.  James  Craig,  jun., 
manufacturer,  was  elected  his  successor  on  13th  October  in  that 
year.  Mr.  Craig  was  at  that  time  a  member  of  the  Town  Council, 
but  resigned  immediately  after  his  appointment.  His  annual  salary 
was  at  first  ^^130,  and  he  gave  security  for  his  intromissions  to  the 
extent  of  ;^2ooo.^ 

The  two  fire  engines  possessed  by  the  Council  were,  with  their 
appurtenances,  placed  in  what  was  called  the  Meal  Market,  in  the 
Weigh -house  Close,  High  Street.  The  following  regulations  were 
enacted  by  the  Magistrates  and  Council  on  24th  December,  1800, 
for  regulating  the  conduct  of  the  firemen  and  encouraging  them  in 
their  difficult  duties  :  — 

"  That  no  fireman  shall  appear  at  any  fire  without  the  jacket,  cap, 
and  badge  which  have  been  furnished  him.  That  after  every  fire 
the  engines  shall  be  cleaned  by  the  firemen,  within  twenty -four 
hours  at  least,  that  they  may  be  in  readiness  in  case  of  future 
accidents  ;  and  it  is  expressly  required  that  the  engines  shall  be 

^  Mr.  Craig  continued  to  act  as  Chamberlain  till  1833,  when  he  resigned;  his 
salary  at  that  time  being  ;^i6o.  On  4th  October  in  that  year,  Mr.  John  R. 
Callender,  a  brother  of  one  of  the  councillors,  was  elected  Chamberlain,  but  he 
resigned  in  September  in  the  following  year;  and  Mr.  Robert  Brown  was  chosen 
in  his  place  on  8th  October,  1834.  Mi-.  Brown  resigned  4th  October,  1845.  At 
that  time  the  Chamberlain's  Ofhce  was  open  every  day  in  the  week,  including 
Saturday,  from  ten  a.m.  till  nine  o'clock  p.m.  On  29th  November,  1836,  a 
motion  was  made  by  a  member  of  Council,  that  the  Chamberlain's  Office  should 
be  shut  at  eight  p.m.,  except  for  a  month  at  each  term  of  letting  the  church  seats, 
but  it  was  negatived.  At  the  present  time  the  Chamberlain's  Office  is  open 
from  nine  a.m.  till  six  p.m.,  and  on  Saturdays  from  nine  till  one  o'clock.  Mr. 
John  Lorimer  was  elected  Chamberlain  on  8th  October,  1845,  and  resigned  in 
1854.  Mr.  Robert  Ferguson,  assistant  chamberlain,  was  promoted  to  the 
Chamberlainship  on  25th  April  in  that  year.  Mr.  Ferguson  resigned  in  1862. 
and  was  succeeded  by  Mr.  James  Adam  on  2nd  December  in  that  year.  Mr. 
Adam  resigned  in  1872;  and  Mr.  A.  M.  Ross,  the  present  Chamberlain,  was 
elected  on  8th  November,  1872. 


124  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

dried  as  completely  as  possible  before  they  be  replaced  in  the 
house  appropriated  to  them.  In  order  to  encourage  vigilance  and 
activity,  a  premium  of  five  shillings  will  be  given  to  the  fireman  or 
firemen  who  shall  bring  the  first  engine  to  any  fire  that  may  happen 
in  the  town  or  suburbs,  and  two  shillings  and  sixpence  to  those  who 
shall  arrive  with  the  second  engine.  But  if  the  alarm  of  fire  given 
shall  turn  out  to  be  false,  or  if  it  shall  afterwards  appear  that  the 
report  of  fire  has  been  excited  by  a  foul  chimney  only,  the  premium 
in  either  of  these  cases  shall  be  two  shillings  to  the  firemen  who 
bring  the  first  engine.  In  the  event  of  fires  taking  place  whereby 
damages  are  occasioned,  the  firemen  shall  be  paid  for  their  trouble, 
according  to  the  determination  of  the  Magistrates  ;  but  in  this  case, 
each  fireman  who  shall  have  been  present  and  acted  at  the  fire, 
shall  not  have  less  than  half-a- crown,  and  the  allowance  shall  be 
made  as  soon  as  the  keeper  of  the  engines  reports  to  the  Magistrates 
that  they  have  been  properly  returned  to  the  engine-house  and  that 
the  firemen  did  their  duty." 

At  the  present  time  the  brigade,  which  consists  of  twelve  men 
and  one  superintendent,  is  in  a  very  efficient  state.  The  apparatus 
and  materials  include  a  steam  fire  engine,  one  manual  engine,  three 
hand  reels,  and  the  necessary  quantity  of  hose.  These  are  all  kept 
in  wdiat  was  at  one  time  the  stables  connected  with  the  Saracen's 
Head  Inn,  Moss  Street. 

The  Town's  Assessorship  was  an  honourable  position,  which  the 
Council  took  great  pains  to  fill  properly  as  vacancies  occurred.  Mr. 
Davidson,  at  the  time  we  treat  of,  having  been  appointed  Professor 
of  Law  in  the  University  of  Glasgow,  and  the  Council  being  of 
opinion  that  it  would  be  more  suitable  for  the  interests  of  the 
community  to  have  an  Assessor  resident  in  Edinburgh,  made  choice 
of  Mr.  Robert  Semple,  advocate.  At  his  death,  the  Council,  on  6th 
January,  1808,  appointed  Mr.  John  Colin  Dunlop,  advocate,  to  be 
Legal  Assessor  to  the  Burgh.  On  31st  July,  18 16,  the  Council 
elected  Sir  William  Hamilton,  advocate,  to  be  Assessor  in  the  place 
of  Mr.  Dunlop,  who  had  been  appointed  Sheriff- Depute  of  Renfrew- 
shire.    This  was  the  last  appointment  by  the  Council  of  an  Assessor. 

The  Council,  in  September,  1801,  as  recommended  by  a  com- 
mittee of  their  number  who  had  been  appointed  to  examine  the 
woods  of  Ferguslie,  agreed  to  sell  thirty  ash  and  forty  beech  trees. 
Shortly  after  this  the  Council  approved  a  more  important  resolution 
regarding  that  valuable  property.  They  agreed  to  sell  the  Ferguslie 
estate,  along  with  the  superiority  of  the  part  of  Carriagehill  belonging 
to  them,  and  fixed  the  upset  price  at  ^^12,000.  Not  finding  a 
purchaser  in  this  way,  the  Council  disposed  of  them  privately,  in  the 
month  of  July  following,  to  Mr.  Thomas  Bissland,  for  ;^i  2,000. 

The  Act  of  Parliament  prohibiting  the  distilling  of  spirits  from 
grain  expired  in  January,  1802  ;  and  the  distillers,  along  with 
others,  used  great  efforts  to  prevent  its  renewal.      On   the  other 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  125 

hand,  many  influential  parties  were  in  favour  of  having  the  act 
renewed,  and  of  this  number  was, the  Town  Council  of  Paisley,  who 
petitioned  Parliament  to  that  effect.  In  their  petition,  they  held 
that  the  prohibition  to  distil  spirits  from  grain  had  been  attended 
with  the  happiest  results  in  this  part  of  the  United  Kingdom,  both 
by  lowering  the  ])rice  of  provisions  to  the  poorer  classes  of  the 
inhabitants,  and  by  restraining  them  in  the  immoderate  use  of 
spirituous  liquors,  whereby  an  evident  improvement  of  their  health 
and  morals  had  taken  place.  On  14th  February,  1809,  the  Council 
petitioned  against  the  bill  that  was  brought  into  Parliament  for  permit- 
ting distillation  from  grain  in  Ireland.  In  18 10,  when  the  act  was 
about  to  expire  which  prohibited  distillation  from  grain,  the  Council 
again  petitioned  Parliament  for  its  continuance.  And  in  181 1  and 
i8i2,theCouncil  petitioned  the  Prince  Regent  to  prohibit  the  distilla- 
tion of  spirits  from  grain,  on  account  of  the  high  rate  of  the  markets.'- 

On  25th  January,  1805,  the  Council  resolved  to  petition  Parliament 
for  a  Repeal  of  the  Corn  Laws.  The  petition  was  transmitted  to  Mr. 
Macdowall,  M.P.,  for  presentation  ;  and  Lord  Archibald  Hamilton, 
M.P.,  and  Boyd  Alexander,  Esq.,  M.P.,  were  requested  to  support 
it.  On  13th  July  following,  the  Council  voted  their  unanimous 
thanks  to  Mr.  Macdowall,  M.P.,  for  his  assiduous  exertions  in 
procuring  amendments  on  the  late  Corn  Laws.  In  March,  181 2,  the 
Council  again  petitioned  Parliament  "  not  to  renew  the  exclusive 
privileges  possessed  by  the  East  India  Company,  in  order  that 
the  nation  at  large  might  be  admitted  to  a  participation  of  the 
commerce  of  the  east."  There  was  a  movement,  in  different  parts 
of  the  country,  to  have  the  protection  afforded  by  the  Riot  Act  to 
churches,  dwelling-houses,  &c.,  extended  to  warehouses  and  public 
works  of  every  description,  which  may  be  burned  or  injured  by 
riotous  persons.  The  Council,  "  believing  that  an  act  to  this  effect 
appeared  in  the  present  times  to  be  requisite,"  directed  a  letter,  on 
ist  May,  181 2,  to  be  sent  to  the  representatives  of  the  county  and 
district,  respectfully  soliciting  their  support  to  any  bill  which  may 
be  brought  into  Parliament  for  effecting  this  important  object.  In 
1813,  a  committee  of  the  House  of  Commons  recommended  an 
alteration  in  the  existing  Corn  Laws;  the  Council,  on  ist  June  in 
that  year,  adopted  a  resolution,  strongly  objecting  to  the  "prohibiting 
of  the  importation  of  foreign  grain,  until  the  price  in  the  United 
Kingdom  shall  have  reached  a  standard  far  exceeding  that  prescribed 

^  Distilleries  were  first  introduced  into  Scotland  in  1701.  Two  applications  were 
made  to  the  Estates,  in  consequence  of  the  prohibition  of  foreign  brandies,  for 
privileges  to  be  granted  to  home  distilleries,  the  first  established  in  the  kingdom  — 
one  for  distilling  a  spirit  from  sugar,  malt,  and  other  liquors,  by  a  company  in 
Glasgow,  in  1701 ;  the  other  from  malt  alone,  by  Alex.  Monteith,  chirurgeon  in 
Edinburgh,  who  craved  that  the  art  discovered  by  him  to  draw  a  spirit  from 
malt,  equal  in  goodness  to  tnie  French  brandy,  might  be  declared  a  manufactory, 
with  the  same  privileges  and  liberties  as  are  granted  to  others.  Previously  to 
this  the  staple  beverage  of  the  Lowlands  was  ale  (Aikmans  History  of  Scotland^ 
vol.  v.,  p.  404). 


126  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

by  Statutes  now  in  force,"  and  "  that  such  an  advance  is  neither 
required  nor  warranted  by  the  present  circumstances  of  the  country, 
and  is  only  calculated  to  enrich  the  landowner  at  the  expense  of 
the  commercial  classes,  who,  from  various  considerations,  are  ill 
fitted  to  afford  it."  In  March  in  the  following  year,  they  again 
petitioned  the  House  of  Commons  against  any  alteration  in  the 
Corn  Laws,  and  transmitted  the  petition  to  Mr.  Kirkman  Finlay, 
M.P.,  for  presentation.  In  July,  1814,  the  Council  petitioned 
Parliament  to  aboHsh  the  African  slave  trade.  In  March,  181 5,  the 
Council  renewed  their  petition  to  Parliament  against  any  alteration 
in  the  Corn  Laws.  And  during  this  year  the  inhabitants  of  Paisley 
forwarded  a  petition  against  the  Corn  Laws,  signed  by  6,400  of  the 
inhabitants,  to  Lord  Archibald  Hamilton,  M.P.,  for  presentation  to 
the  House  of  Commons.  Notwithstanding  all  the  opposition  it 
aroused  in  every  part  of  the  country,  the  Corn  Bill,  sanctioning  a 
protective  duty  of  80s.  per  quarter,  was  passed  by  the  legislature. 

When  the  British  army  was  victorious  in  any  of  the  battles  in 
which  they  were  engaged  during  the  long -continued  Continental 
war,  the  inhabitants  displayed  their  joy  at  the  result,  and  their 
loyalty,  by  illuminations  and  the  ringing  of  the  public  bells.  These 
rejoicings  were  generally  conducted  in  an  orderly  manner.  Some- 
times, however,  the  youthful  portion  of  the  inhabitants  were  much 
more  demonstrative  —  burning  tar  barrels  and  making  manifesta- 
tions of  a  rather  unruly  kind,  which  required  occasionally  the  inter- 
ference of  the  Magistrates.  But  it  was  at  the  peace  in  18 14,  which 
turned  out  to  be  only  temporary,  when  the  combined  armies  of 
Europe  vanquished  the  French  nation,  and  banished  Napoleon  to 
the  island  of  Elba,  that  the  greatest  demonstrations  were  made  in 
the  town.  The  British  nation  had  long  suffered  severely  from  these 
bloody  and  expensive  wars  on  the  Continent  of  Europe  ;  and  now, 
when  peace  was  secured,  the  joy  of  the  people  Avas  universal  and 
unbounded.  In  no  part  of  the  country,  however,  were  loyalty, 
patriotism,  and  abhorrence  of  the  lawless  ruler  of  the  French  nation, 
more  conspicuously  manifested  at  this  time  than  in  Paisley.  The 
Provost  and  Magistrates  readily  complied  with  the  desire  of  the 
inhabitants  in  issuing  a  proclamation  for  a  general  illumination  to 
celebrate  the  return  of  peace. 

This  splendid  illumination,  as  described  in  the  Glasgow  Chronicle, 
took  place  on  the  evening  of  the  19th  April,  1814.  In  the  afternoon 
of  that  day,  a  numerous  and  respectable  body  of  operative  weavers 
paraded  the  town,  under  leaders  of  their  own  selection,  accompanied 
by  several  military  bands  of  music  and  an  excellent  local  band, 
and  displaying  standards  and  insignia.  The  operative  wrights  and 
tradesmen  of  other  crafts  formed  a  part  of  the  long- extended  pro- 
cession. At  six  o'clock  in  the  evening,  they  were  formed  into  a 
square  at  the  Cross,  in  front  of  the  ToUbooth  stair,  in  which  stood 
the  Magistrates  and  Council,  the  Sheriff,  &c.,  who  drank  the  healths 
of  the  venerable  King  George  III.  and  the  Royal  Family,  during 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  127 

repeated  discharges  of  musketry  by  a  detachment  from  the  local 
militia  of  the  county.  The  ringing  of  the  bells  at  eight  o'clock  was 
the  signal  for  illumination,  and  from  the  darkness  of  the  night  every 
part  of  the  town  instantly  exhibited  a  grand  and  luminous  blaze, 
displaying  taste  and  splendour  far  exceeding  all  former  demonstra- 
tions of  the  kind.  All  the  houses  in  the  vicinity  of  the  town  were 
likewise  tastefully  lighted  up.  At  Crossflat  House,  the  residence  of 
Mr.  Brown,  the  entire  front  exhibited  a  display  of  variegated  lamps, 
disposed  in  columns,  wreaths,  and  festoons.  A  large  transparency 
in  the  centre  showed  an  equestrian  statue  of  the  Emperor  Alexander, 
surmounted  by  an  imperial  crown  of  brilliant  light,  the  whole  form- 
ing a  fine  architectural  representation  of  an  illuminated  temple. 
The  Coffee -Room  was  brilliantly  lit  up,  and  displayed  three  trans- 
parencies with  appropriate  devices.  The  centre  transparency 
exhibited  the  words,  "  Tyranny  Overthrown  and  Europe  Saved 
under  the  auspices  of  Britain,"  with  the  figure  of  Britannia  trampling 
on  a  very  hateful  monster  or  figure  of  Tyranny  in  chains  ;  in  her 
left  hand  was  a  shield  and  in  her  right  a  trident,  with  which 
to  strike  the  prostrate  figure  ;  the  British  Lion  was  on  her  left  hand, 
and  the  Star  of  Peace  was  seen  rising  above  the  horizon  on  the 
right.  On  the  pedestal  was  exhibited,  in  separate  lines,  "  Moscow 
Burned,"  "  Paris  Spared,"  "  Louis  XVIIL"  In  the  transparency  on 
the  right  were  the  letters,  "  G.  IIL  R.,"  surmounted  by  a  crown; 
and  immediately  beneath  were  the  names,  "  Alexander,  Francis, 
and  Frederick";  in  the  centre  was  the  word  "Peace,"  encircled 
with  laurel  on  azure  ground  ;  beneath  was  the  name  and  a  likeness 
of  Nelson,  inscribed,  "  Britain  has  done  her  duty,"  and  a  view  of 
ships-of-war.  The  third  transparency  represented  the  letters 
"  G.P.R.,"  surmounted  by  the  Prince  of  Wales'  feather  ;  the  names 
of  Rutuzo,  Blucher,  and  Schwartzenberg,  arranged  opposite  to  those 
of  their  respective  sovereigns  in  the  corresponding  transparency  ; 
"  Commerce  "  occupied  the  centre,  encircled  like  Peace  ;  beneath 
was  a  portrait  of  Wellington,  the  deliverer  of  the  Peninsula,  with 
warlike  trophies.  On  the  base  of  the  supporting  pedestal  appeared 
"  Victory."  The  house  of  the  Provost  was  splendidly  Hghted,  and 
exhibited  three  very  appropriate  and  well -executed  transparencies. 
One  of  the  Avindows  of  James  Muir,  surgeon,  represented  Britannia 
standing  in  a  car  drawn  by  a  lion  and  a  unicorn,  Britannia  in  the 
act  of  rescuing  the  map  of  Europe  from  the  torch  of  Discord. 
Below  was  seen — 

"  From  this  blest  hour  all  violence  shall  cease, 
The  age  grow  mild,  and  soften  into  peace," 

— a  dove  descending  with  the  olive  branch,  and  the  motto,  "  The 
Captive  set  Free."  Of  nine  transparencies  presented  by  Mr.  George 
Carswell,  the  two  following  were  particularly  noticed : — A  figure 
representing  France  in  a  resting  posture,  "  Set  Free  from  Tyranny 
and  Oppression,"  with  Fame  rising  over  Europe  proclaiming  the 
joyful   news ;     the    other  figure.  Justice,  pointing    to   a   bust    of 


12.'^  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Louis  XVIII.  on  a  pedestal,  with  the  words,  "The  finger  of 
Providence  is  in  this."  At  the  corner  was  a  figure  of  Buonaparte, 
with  his  crown  tumbUng  headlong.  Mr.  James  Wilson,  Love  Street, 
had  five  transparencies,  of  which  the  following  was  distinguished : — 
A  mounted  Cossack  throwing  his  lance  at  a  fugitive  figure  of 
Buonaparte,  with  the  inscription,  "  Thanks  to  our  heroes  who  have 
vanquished  the  destroyers  of  commerce  and  the  disturber  of  the 
world."  Mr.  Peter  Wright  exhibited  a  transparency  of  Peace 
persuading  Mars  to  sheathe  his  sword,  surrounded  by  a  beautiful 
display  of  light.  Mr.  Stevenson  exhibited  in  St.  James  Street  a 
Blasted  Tree  of  Liberty,  with  a  serpent  encircling  the  branch,  and 
presenting  a  discharge  to  Buonaparte,  who  is  represented  on  his 
knees  receiving  it,  —  while  the  scourge  of  the  nation  falls  from  his 
hand,  and  the  fire  of  the  furies  blazes  before  him.  Mr.  Farquharson, 
of  St.  James  Place,  exhibited,  amid  a  blaze  of  glory,  Britannia 
exalted  on  a  pedestal,  surrounded  and  looked  up  to  by  the  repre- 
sentatives of  the  Alhed  Powers,  and  busy  Fame  with  her  trumpet. 
Messrs.  R.  Cochrane  &  Sons  had  three  transparencies,  the  most 
prominent  of  which  was  Marshal  Ney  delivering  to  the  Emperor 
Alexander  a  parchment  roll  containing  the  abdication  of  Buonaparte. 
Mr.  Leishman  had  four  transparencies,  the  principal  representing 
the  breaking  up  of  the  Confederation  of  the  Rhine,  and  the 
triumphant  Ministers  and  Warriors  of  the  United  Kingdom,  with 
Wellington  in  the  centre,  encircled  with  laurel ;  on  the  right,  on  an 
appropriate  ground,  were  Pitt,  Nelson,  and  other  of  the  departed 
British  statesmen  and  heroes  who  shone  conspicuously  in  the  late 
eventful  contest ;  on  the  left  were  represented  the  Allied  Powers, 
with  the  great  commanders  of  their  armies,  and  the  British  Mission 
attached  to  them.  In  the  second  range,  the  centre  window  had  a 
full  transparent  figure  of  St.  George  destroying  the  dragon  monster, 
while  the  horse  trampled  over  the  broken  eagles  of  Buonaparte ; 
above,  in  front  of  the  balcony,  forming  an  ample  semi -circle,  were 
the  words,  "  Europe  saved  by  the  example  of  Britain."  The 
balustrade  was  studded  with  variegated  lamps.  The  whole  was 
surmounted  (on  the  top  of  the  balcony)  by  a  large  brilliant  star, 
with  the  motto  above,  "  The  star  of  peace  returns,"  and  below  Louis 
XVIII.  On  the  south  front  was  a  fine  transparency  of  the  British 
Crown  with  its  emblems,  and  the  ancient  arms  and  crown  of 
France,  connected  by  wreaths  of  olive  twigs.  At  the  Union  Bank 
was  a  flag  of  Great  Britain,  with  her  trident  surmounting  it.  Mr. 
Blaikie,  engraver,  exhibited  the  triumphant  entry  of  the  Allied 
Powers  into  Paris.  Bailie  AVilliam  M'Laran  had  three  transparencies 
ingeniously  and  appropriately  designed  for  the  occasion.  Messrs. 
Brown,  Macalister  &  Brown,  had  figures  of  Britannia,  with  the 
motto,  "  Britain  the  hope  and  anchor  of  the  world."  At  the  head 
of  Orchard  Street,  there  was  a  grand  exhibition  of  variegated  lamps, 
displayed  in  the  form  of  a  triumphal  arch,  decorated  with  flowers 
and  shrubbery.  Mr.  C.  J.  Eraser,  Church  Lane,  had  a  picturesque 
representation  of  Buonaparte's  voyage  to  the  Island  of  Elba,  he 


iSoO    TILL    1S25.  t20 

being  rowed  off  in  an  open  boat,  with  a  Cossack  standing  over  him, 
while  a  group  of  Cossacks  occupied  the  foreground,  with  the 
inscription,  "  The  obstacles  to  peace  removed."  The  Tollbooth  hall 
and  offices  had,  in  the  bow  front,  the  first  range  of  windows  entirely 
fi.Ued  with  variegated  transparencies  bearing  illustrious  names.  In  the 
centre  window  were  those  of  our  revered  King,  the  Prince  Regent, 
and  the  Duke  of  York.  On  a  pedestal  was  a  statue  of  Neptune 
with  his  trident.  On  the  front  was  a  bust  of  Mr.  Pitt,  supported  on 
one  side  by  a  soldier  "  in  the  garb  of  old  Gaul,"  bearing  a  British 
standard.  On  the  other  lay  a  British  sailor,  directing  the  soldier  to 
the  inscription,  "  The  Pilot  who  weathered  the  storm."  Messrs. 
Wylie's  office  had,  in  variegated  lamps,  the  words,  "  Europe  is  free." 
Numerous  other  transparencies,  of  great  taste  and  splendour,  were 
exhibited  in  every  part  of  the  town.  At  ten  o'clock  the  ringing  of 
the  bells  ceased.  This  was  the  signal  for  extinguishing  the  lights  ; 
and  the  memorable  evening  was  brought  to  a  close  by  the  combustion, 
on  the  uppermost  battlements  of  the  High  Church  steeple,  of  a 
chemical  mixture,  prepared  and  superintended  by  Mr.  Davidson, 
lecturer  on  chemistry.  This  exhibition  was  continued  for  nearly 
fifteen  minutes,  and  notwithstanding  heavy  rain  and  a  dense  atmos- 
phere, the  country  for  many  miles  round  was  brilliantly  illuminated. 
The  effects  of  the  light  at  a  distance  were  much  more  striking  than 
in  the  town.  Although  the  concourse  of  people  in  the  streets  during 
the  time  of  the  illumination  was  immense,  thousands  having  come 
from  a  distance,  yet  the  most  exemplary  order  and  decorum  prevailed. 

There  was  no  proper  public  library  established  in  Paisley  till 
1802.  Prior  to  that  time,  books  were  lent  out  by  the  booksellers, 
such  as  Mr.  George  Caldwell,  in  the  Moss  Row,  and  others,  whose 
stock  of  literature  was  of  the  most  circumscribed  range.  On  14th 
May  in  that  year,  the  "Paisley  Library  Society"  was  instituted.^ 
It  commenced,  as  stated  in  the  first  printed  catalogue,  with  138 
subscribers,  who  paid  three  guineas  on  entering,  and  half-a-guinea 
a-year  thereafter.  Those  paying  ten  guineas  at  once,  were  exempted 
from  the  yearly  contributions.  The  library  was  managed  by  a  com- 
mittee of  twelve  members,  who  were  elected  annually,  and  were 
empowered  to  purchase  books  to  the  amount  of  one- third  of  the 
annual  income,  —  purchases  to  be  confined  to  such  books  as  were 
of  high  character  and  general  utility,  and  excluding  all  those  that 
Avere  merely  professional.  A  subscriber  refusing  to  act  as  a  manager 
or  curator,  after  due  election,  was  fined  in  half-a-guinea;  but  after 
paying  once,  he  was  not  subjected  to  another  fine  on  a  similar 
account.-  The  library  appears  to  have  prospered,  and  to  have  been 
much  appreciated  by  the  inhabitants ;  for,  ten  years  thereafter,  the 

^  In  Glasgow,  the  Stirling  Library  was  established  in  1791,  and  the  Glasgow 
Public  Library  in  1804. 

"  In  1803,  Mr.  Thomas  Crichton,  master  of  the  Town's  Hospital,  published  a 
poem  of  considerable  merit  in  praise  of  the  institution,  and  dedicated  it  to  the 
President  and  Curators  of  the  Librarj'. 


130  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

number  of  subscribers  had  increased  to  200,  and  the  books  to  3000 
volumes.^  The  books  in  this  Hbrary  were  transferred  to  the  Free 
Library  when  it  was  opened  in  187 1. 

On  ist  January,  1806,  the  Paisley  Trades'  Library  was  instituted. 
The  annual  subscription  was  six  shillings,  and  it  was  largely  taken 
advantage  of  by  the  operative  classes.  But  it  was  given  up  about 
thirty -five  years  ago,  because  it  was  not  sufficiently  supported. 

The  Paisley  Theological  Library  was  instituted  in  1808.  Those 
present  at  the  first  meeting  on  i8th  Ma}^,  1808,  when  it  was  first 
projected,  were — ^The  Rev.  Messrs.  Findlay,  Rankin,  Reid,  Terrier, 
Smart,  Macdermid,  and  Blair  •  and  Messrs.  William  Carlile,  James 
Carlile,  James  Walkinshaw,  George  Carswell,  and  John  M'Gavin. 
The  object  of  the  institution  was  "  to  form  a  collection  of  such  books 
as  are  subservient  to  religious  knowledge  of  the  Scriptures."  The 
annual  subscription  was  half-a-guinea,  without  any  entry-money. 
The  society  at  first  consisted  of  56  members.  In  1825,  according 
to  an  advertisement  at  that  time,  the  library  was  stored  in  the 
society  rooms.  No.  25  Moss  Street;  and  was  open  forgiving  out 
and  receiving  books  every  lawful  day,  except  Wednesday,  between 
the  hours  of  one  and  three  afternoon.  At  this  time  the  books  had 
increased  to  700  volumes. 

Besides  these  public  libraries,  Mr.  Thomas  Auld,  jun.,  bookseller, 
at  the  "  fourth  shop  north  of  the  Council  Chamber,  Cross,"  had  a 
circulating  library  of  2500  volumes  "in  the  various  branches  of 
literature,  which  were  lent  by  the  year,  at  9s.;  half-year,  at  5s.; 
quarter,  at  2s.  6d.;  or  month,  at  is.  Readers  who  did  not  choose 
to  subscribe  had  to  pay  one  penny  for  each  volume.  If  they  kept 
any  book  more  than  two  nights,  they  were  deemed  subscribers,  and 
had  to  pay  accordingly  "  (M}-.  Au/d's  Catalogue,  published  in  1808). 

Mr.  John  Millar,  at  the  head  of  Castle  Street,  issued  at  this  time 
a  catalogue  "  of  books  in  every  department  of  literature,"  but  he  did 
not  state  whether  he  lent  any  of  them  out.  At  the  head  of  this 
catalogue  he  states  : — ■ 

"  This  list  o'  beuks  —  sum  dull,  sum  clever, 
An'  sum  ye  ne'er  will  see  again  — 
Cum,  purchase  now  !  for  wha  could  ever 
Sic  beuks  sae  cheap  before  obtain  ! " 

Mr.  Millar  in  this  catalogue  states  that  he  had  edited  the  following 
publications  : — "  Rational  Recreations,"  "  The  Paisley  Repository," 
"  Hardyknute,"  "  The  Life  and  Death  of  the  famous  Piper  of  Kil- 
barchan,"  "  Accurate  Account  of  the  Dreadful  Calamity  at  the 
Canal  Basin,  loth  November,  1810,"  "The  Songster,"  and  "  The 
Witches  of  Renfrewshire ;"  and  that  he  was  also  the  "  author 
of  a  '  Collection  of  Arithmetical  and  Mathematical  Questions,' 
'  Problems  on  the  National  Debt,'  '  Exercises  in  SpeUing  and 
Numbers,'  'Tyro's  Orthographical  and  Numerical  Exercises,'  &c." 

^  Gilroy's  Paisley  Directory  for  1812. 


iSoo    TILL    1825.  13! 

The  first  proposal  for  the  formation  of  a  canal  in  this  district  was 
made  by  James  Watt,  of  Birmin<^ham,  the  improver  of  the  steam 
engine.  When  residing  in  Glasgow,  in  1773,  ^e  surveyed  a  course 
for  a  canal  from  Paisley  to  Hurlet,  and  his  estimate  of  the  expense 
was  ;^4,6oo  (Wi/son's  Vietv  of  Renfrcioshire,  p.  1S6).  In  1791,  a 
number  of  gentlemen  who  believed  that  the  formation  of  a  canal 
from  Saltcoats  to  Paisley  and  Glasgow  would  be  a  great  public 
benefit  to  the  country,  had  its  course  actually  laid  down  (Statistical 
Account  of  Beith^  vol.  viii.,  p.  327).  At  the  beginning  of  this 
century  the  last -mentioned  measure  for  connecting  by  a  canal  these 
towns  and  other  intermediate  places  with  the  sea,  for  the  safe 
and  cheap  conveyance  of  passengers  and  goods,  received  the  earnest 
support  of  the  inhabitants  and  their  representatives  at  the  Council 
Board.  The  Council,  when  applied  to,  subscribed  five  guineas  "  on 
behalf  of  the  community  towards  defraying  the  expense  of  making 
a  survey  of  the  intended  canal  from  Saltcoats  to  Glasgow  "  (Council 
Records,  26th  January,  1803).  And  on  4th  December  in  the 
following  year  they  agreed  to  address  the  committee  of  management 
on  the  propriety  of  making  its  direction  in  a  straight  line  from 
Paisley  to  Glasgow.  In  1804,  surveys,  plans,  and  estimates  of  the 
canal,  prepared  by  Thomas  Telford,  the  celebrated  engineer,  were 
brought  before  the  public  by  the  Earl  of  Eglinton  and  a  number  of 
other  public -spirited  gentlemen,  as  an  undertaking  certain  to  be  of 
great  advantage,  with  every  probability  of  being  highly  profitable. 
His  I^ordship  was  in  reality  the  grand  mover  in  this  scheme. 
Captain  Sandford  Tatham,  of  the  Royal  Navy,  regulating  officer  in 
this  district,  who  was  consulted  regarding  the  proposal  to  form  this 
canal,  was  highly  in  favour  of  it.  Masters  and  owners  of  vessels, 
he  held,  would  prefer  discharging  their  cargoes  at  Ardrossan,  and 
having  them  carried  by  canal  direct  to  Glasgow  and  other  places, 
to  suftering  the  delay  that  vessels  were  subject  to  in  working  their 
way  by  the  circuitous  route  up  the  Clyde.  The  estimated  expense 
of  making  this  canal  from  Glasgow  through  Paisley  to  Ardrossan,  a 
distance  of  31^  miles,  was  ;,^  125,000.  In  1806,  an  Act  of 
I^arliament  was  obtained  for  making  this  canal,  with  a  branch,  to 
the  coal  works  at  Hurlet.  The  share  capital  was  fixed  at  ;^  140,000, 
with  powers  to  borrow  ^30,000  in  addition,  should  such  be 
required.  The  Town  Council,  on  23rd  January,  1807,  agreed  to 
subscribe  for  ten  shares  of  the  stock  of  the  company ;  and  many 
others  in  Paisley  also  took  stock.  As  the  application  for  shares 
amounted  to  ^43,000,  the  company  agreed  to  make  only  the  part 
of  the  canal  between  Glasgow,  Paisley,  and  Johnstone,  which  was 
estimated  by  the  same  engineer  to  cost  ^49,000.  Contracts  were 
accordingly  entered  into  ;  but  before  the  canal  was  nearly  finished 
the  capital  of  the  company  was  exhausted,  and  money  had  to  be 
borrowed  under  great  difficulties,  and  more  stock  taken  up  by  the 
existing  shareholders,  to  complete  the  works.  Before  that  was 
accomphshed,  however,  upwards  of  ^100,000  had  been  expended. 
The  Town  Council,  on  5th  September,  1809,  agreed  "  to  guarantee, 


132  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

with  the  other  holders  of  shares,  any  sums  which  it  may  be  found 
necessary  to  borrow  for  the  completion  of  that  pubhc  and  useful 
undertaking."  And  on  26th  November  in  the  following  year,  they 
agreed  "  to  take  other  ten  shares  of  the  capital  stock  of  the  canal,  at 
^25  each  share,  agreeably  to  the  resolutions  of  the  last  general 
meeting  of  the  proprietors.'"'  The  original  shares  were  ^50  each, 
but  by  this  time  they  were  reduced  one  half  This  important 
undertaking  was  commenced  in  1807,  and  the  part  from  Paisley 
to  Johnstone  was  opened  for  traffic  on  6th  November,  1810. 
On  the  loth  of  that  month,  being  Martinmas  Fair  Saturday,  a  most 
calamitous  accident  occurred  at  the  canal  basin.  When  the  passage 
boat,  "  The  Countess  of  Eglinton,"'  arrived  from  Johnstone,  a  crowd 
of  passengers,  to  the  number  of  nearly  two  hundred,  rushed  on 
board  and  overset  it,  throwing  nearly  all  its  occupants  into  the  water. 
Although  every  effort  was  made  to  save  them,  eighty -seven  were 
drowned.  Thereby,  as  may  readily  be  believed,  gloom  overshadowed 
the  whole  community. 

A  public  meeting,  called  by  the  Magistrates,  was  immediately 
held,  to  consider  the  best  means  of  affording  relief  to  the  relatives 
of  those  who  perished  in  the  canal.  At  that  meeting  a  committee 
was  appointed  to  collect  subscriptions  and  receive  information  as  to 
the  situation  of  those  requiring  assistance.  Collections  were  also 
made  in  aid  of  the  funds  at  the  different  churches  in  town.  The 
inhabitants  sympathised  so  much  with  the  object  of  the  subscription, 
that  the  large  sum  of  ;^954  iSs.  6d.  was  raised,  and  the  distribution 
of  it  among  the  relations  of  the  sufferers  extended  from  that  period 
till  April,  1 814. 

On  4th  October,  181 1,  the  ceremony  of  the  opening  of  the  canal 
was  earned  out.  Three  of  the  company's  boats,  filled  with 
gentlemen,  among  whom  were  the  Earl  of  Eglinton,  Sir  John 
Maxwell,  Mr.  Campbell  of  Blythswood,  the  Sheriff  of  Renfrewshire, 
and  the  [Magistrates  of  Paisley,  accompanied  by  the  band  of  the  ist 
Lanarkshire  ^slilitia,  left  Paisley  for  Glasgow  amidst  an  immense 
concourse  of  spectators.  They  arrived  at  Glasgow  under  a  salute 
from  the  artillery  of  the  Forth  and  Clyde  Canal  Volunteers.  The 
company  on  landing  were  received  by  the  Lord  Provost  and 
Magistrates  of  Glasgow,  the  Dean  of  Guild,  the  Deacon  Convener  of 
the  Trades'  House,  the  ^Magistrates  of  Gorbals,  and  other  gentlemen. 
The  company  met  in  the  warehouse  at  the  end  of  the  canal ;  and 
after  an  impressive  prayer  was  offered  up  by  the  Rev.  Mr.  M'Lean, 
minister  of  Gorbals,  they  partook  of  luncheon,  and  several  loyal  and 
appropriate  speeches  were  delivered.  On  returning  to  Paisley  in 
the  boats,  a  company,  numbering  about  one  hundred,  dined  in  the 
Tontine  Inn,- — the  Earl  of  Eglinton  occupying  the  chair.  In 
November,  1813,  the  company  advertised  that  the  fares  by  the 
passenger  boats  would  be  —  for  first  cabin,  is.  3d.;  and  for  second 
cabin,  lod.     The  time  taken  was  about  one  hour  and  fifty  minutes. 

The  charges  for  the  carriage  of  goods  from  Paisley  to  Glasgow 
was  4^d.  per  cwt.;  from  Paisley  to  Johnstone,  3d.  per  cwt.     For 


l8oO    TILL    1825.  133 

grain,  flour,  &c.,  from  Paisley  to  Glasgow,  the  charge  for  ten  bags 
was  7s.;  for  pig  iron,  per  ton,  3s.  6d.  Single  parcels  below  1  cwt. 
were  charged  per  stone  one  penny.  The  depth  of  the  canal  was 
4^  feet,  the  breadth  was  generally  28  feet,  but  in  many  places 
much  narrower.^ 

The  following  table  gives  some  idea  of  the  passenger  traffic : — 

Decrease  in  Increase  in 
1815.  1816.  1816.  1816. 


April,    ...  ...  ...         7467  7225  242 

May, 9220         9568  348 

We  do  not  learn  from  the  Council  records  when  a  company  of 
special  constables  was  first  organised  ;  but  on  many  occasions  they 
were  of  great  service  in  preserving  the  peace  of  the  town.^  They 
appear  to  have  been  first  constituted  about  1795  ;  and  in  1800 
regulations  were  published,  along  with  a  statement  of  their  powers 
and  duties.  The  body  consisted  of  respectable  citizens.  Each 
constable  was  furnished  with  a  baton.  The  town  and  suburbs  were 
divided  into  four  wards,  according  to  the  number  of  parishes.  Each 
ward  had  a  chief  constable,  empowered  to  command  as  if  he  were 
a  military  officer.  There  was,  likewise,  a  second  in  command,  to 
aid  the  head  constable  \\dth  his  advice,  and  to  act  in  his  absence. 
Each  ward  was  divided  into  eight  or  more  districts,  according  to 
extent  and  population.  The  captain,  or  head  of  each  district,  kept 
a  roll  of  his  men,  and  his  duty  Avas  to  warn  them  to  attend  the 
several  rendezvous  at  the  time  notified  by  his  commander.  The 
number  enrolled  in  the  four  parishes  exceeded  five  hundred,  and 
these  could  be  collected  in  less  than  an  hour,  ready  on  receiving 
orders  from  the  Magistrates  in  the  town,  or  the  Sheriff  or  Justices 
in  the  suburbs,  to  disperse  any  mob  or  subdue  any  riot.  Without 
such  warrant,  the  men  were  not  empowered  to  act  (Statement  in 
1820  by  the  late  Provost  Williavi  Car/He).  The  supplying  of  each 
constable  with  a  baton,  was  all  the  expense  incurred  by  the  town. 

^  "Some  time  since,  Mr.  Cunningham  of  Craigends  engaged  with  another 
gentleman  for  a  wager  of  ;i{^20,  that  he  would,  on  horseback,  leap  over  the  canal 
between  Glasgow  and  Paisley.  He  was  to  have  his  own  choosing  of  the  ground  ; 
and  the  weather  being  extremely  inviting  on  Tuesday  last,  the  parties  met  to  see 
the  exploit  performed.  After  riding  up  and  down  for  some  time,  a  piece  of 
ground  was  fixed  upon  about  a  mile  on  the  east  side  of  Paisley,  called  Cook's 
Ridge.  Mr.  Cunningham  then  put  his  horse  in  motion,  and  accomplished  the 
feat  with  ease.  The  spirited  animal  went  four  feet  over  the  canal,  which  being 
eleven  feet  broad  at  the  place,  made  fifteen  feet  of  a  leap  in  whole  (G/asgmu 
Chronicle,  26th  December,  1822). 

"  The  word  constable  is,  by  some  authorities,  derived  from  the  Saxon  words, 
"Koning"  and  "Stapel,"  signifying  a  support  of  the  King;  and  by  others,  from 
the  Latin  words,  "Comes"  and  "Stabuli,"'  denoting  a  master  of  the  horse. 
The  latter  derivation  is  that  adopted  by  Spelman,  Du  Cange,  and  others,  and  has 
reference,  probably,  to  that  officer  well  known  in  the  Empire,  who  had  to 
regulate  all  matters  of  chivalry,  tilts,  tournaments,  and  feats  of  arms,  which  were 
performed  on  horseback  (T.  D.  Mai-wick's  High  Constables  0/ Edinburgh,  p.  3). 


134  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

The  following  is  a  copy  of  the  constables'  instructions,  as  fixed  in 
1809.     They  will,  no  doubt,  be  found  to  be  interesting : — 

"  Instructions  and  regulations  for  the  special  constables  appointed 
for  the  town  and  suburbs  of  Paisley,  published  by  authority  of  the 
Lord  Lieutenant  of  the  County,  the  Sheriff  and  M^igistrates  of 
Paisley,  25th  July,  1809.  In  general,  the  duty  of  special  constables 
is  to  aid  the  Civil  Magistrates  in  the  preservation  of  good  order,  by 
the  suppression  of  riotous  and  seditious  conduct,  and  by  discovering 
and  bringing  to  justice  all  disturbers  of  the  public  peace.  But 
besides  assisting  the  Magistracy,  they  are  entitled,  of  their  own 
authority,  to  seize  the  persons  of  delinquents,  in  all  cases  of  felony, 
or  capital  crime,  and  in  all  breaches  of  the  peace,  committed  in  their 
presence.  Breaches  of  the  peace  comprehend  not  only  the  com- 
mitting of  actual  violence  against  persons  or  property,  but  the 
uttering  of  violent  threats,  or  making  other  demonstrations  of 
immediate  mischief, —  such  as  pursuing  or  following  any  of  the 
lieges  with  abuse,  or  clamour,  or  threats,  so  as  to  excite  reasonable 
dread  of  personal  danger,  even  although  no  actual  violence  should 
take  place.  In  all  such  cases  there  is  an  aggravation  of  the  offence, 
when  it  is  committed  by  one  or  more,  united  with  others,  aiding  or 
abetting.  The  persons  seized  by  the  constables  ought  to  be  carried 
before  a  magistrate  without  unnecessary  delay  ;  and  if  a  magistrate 
cannot  conveniently  be  found  to  examine  the  offenders,  they  may 
be  detained  in  custody  till  examination.  A  special  constable  is 
entitled  to  demand  the  assistance  of  the  neighbours  or  bystanders 
in  securing  offenders ;  and  any  person  who  shall  refuse  or  withhold 
such  assistance  when  required,  is  highly  culpable,  and  liable  to  be 
punished  on  complaint  made  to  a  magistrate.  If  resistance  or 
violence  be  offered  to  a  constable  in  the  execution  of  his  duty  (after 
making  his  office  known),  he  is,  of  course,  entitled  to  persist,  and, 
if  necessary,  to  repel  force  by  force  ;  but  in  the  event  of  there  being 
much  personal  risk,  the  most  prudent  course  will  be  to  endeavour 
to  identify  the  offenders  and  to  report  the  offence  to  a  magistrate, 
with  the  names  of  the  oftenders  and  of  any  witnesses  who  can  give 
testimony  in  the  matter ;  and  if  the  oftenders  are  not  known,  to 
follow  or  otherwise  endeavour  to  procure  and  to  report  information 
concerning  them.  Although  a  baton  be  the  usual  badge  of  ofifice, 
the  want  of  it  is  not  material ;  and  when  the  constable  is  either  per- 
sonally known,  or  declares  his  office  when  it  becomes  necessary  for 
him  to  act,  an  offender  will  be  liable  to  punishment  if  he  should 
ofter  resistance.  The  town  and  suburbs  being  di\ided  into  wards, 
under  the  Police  Act,  the  Commissioners  of  Police  of  the  several 
wards  are  to  act  as  head  constables,  ex  officio.,  for  their  respective 
wards.  The  special  constables  will  not,  except  in  cases  of  sudden 
emergency,  proceed  to  act  without  receiving  directions  from  the 
Sheriff  or  Magistrates,  which  will  be  communicated  through  the 
head  constable.  Places  of  rendezvous  will  be  appointed  by  the 
head  constables  for  their  respective  wards,  where  they  may  convene 
the  special  constables  in  the  event  of  any  tumult  or  riot  existing,  or 


tSoo  till  1825.  135 

being  expected  ;  and  from  which  places  of  rendezvous  they  may- 
send  patrols,  or  adopt  such  other  measures  as  may  appear  best  for 
the  preservation  of  the  peace  ;  the  special  constables  taking  their 
directions  from  the  head  constables  of  their  respective  wards,  and 
they  again  from  the  Sheriff  or  Magistrates." 

On  9th  December,  1S12,  the  Magistrates  reported  to  the  Council 
that  they  had  considered  it  their  duty  in  these  times  to  revive  the 
establishment  of  special  constables,  for  the  security  of  private  pro- 
perty and  the  maintenance  of  public  tranquility  ;  and  they  reported 
the  measures  pursued  for  that  purpose,  of  which  the  Council  highly 
approved  ;  and  as  a  number  of  batons,  in  addition  to  those  on 
hand,  would  be  necessary,  the  Magistrates  were  directed  to  obtain 
them  without  delay,  and  to  procure  estimates  from  such  tradesmen 
as  they  should  think  were  quaUfied  to  furnish  them.  On  the  15th 
of  the  same  month,  the  Magistrates  reported  that,  after  obtaining  a 
variety  of  offers,  "  they  had  contracted  with  Mr.  Waterston,  painter, 
for  as  many  as  might  be  required,  at  the  rate  of  is.  4d.  each." 

In  1804,  the  Magistrates  and  Council,  from  the  increase  of  popu- 
lation and  manufactures,  accompanied  as  these  naturally  are  with 
an  increase  of  crimes  and  irregularities,  seriously  directed  their 
attention  to  the  securing  of  a  police  force,  and  the  making  of  other 
sanitary  regulations,  as  fixed  by  Act  of  Parliament.  Prior  to  the 
union  of  Scotland  and  England,  the  inhabitants  were  mainly  ruled, 
as  we  have  shown,  by  acts  passed  by  the  Bailies  and  Council,  and 
administered  also  by  themselves.  The  town -guard  was  organised 
by  the  Bailies  and  Council,  and  was  at  first  taken  advantage  of  when 
such  was  required,  but  afterwards  it  became  a  regular  force.  The 
Magistrates  had  the  sole  control  of  this  body,  which  at  this  time 
consisted  of  thirteen  householders,  who  were  warned  in  rotation. 
During  fairs,  the  number  was  increased  to  eighteen.  They  nightly 
elected  their  own  captain,  and  their  duties  lasted  from  ten  at  night 
till  five  or  six  in  the  morning.  The  captain  reported  to  the  acting- 
magistrate  what  had  taken  place  during  the  night.  When  the  popu- 
lation was  small,  this  social  arrangement  was  very  successful ;  but 
with  a  greatly  increased  population  it  was  found  to  be  insufficient. 
There  were  many  objections  to  this  system.  One  of  them  was  that 
the  more  wealthy  portion  of  the  inhabitants  did  not  personally  act, 
and  their  substitutes  were  very  often  persons  quite  unqualified  for 
the  work.  Frequently,  instead  of  suppressing  breaches  of  the  peace 
and  arresting  those  who  were  riotous,  they  became  abettors  of  the 
mob,  and  failed  to  perambulate  the  streets  and  to  report  breaches  of 
the  peace  to  the  Magistrates.  The  streets  also  at  this  time  were 
inadequately  lighted,  there  being  only  about  seventy  lamps  provided 
by  the  Council  for  the  use  of  the  whole  town.  The  streets  of  the 
town  received  some  attention  ;  but  they  do  not  appear  to  have 
had  any  foot-pavements,  as  such  are  not  alluded  to  in  the  Council 
records.  It  is  not,  then,  to  be  wondered  at  that  the  Council,  after 
consulting  the  inhabitants  and  holding  many  meetings,  had   the 


136 


HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 


draft  of  a  Police  Bill  considered  and  matured.    Five  hundred  copies 
of  it  were  printed  for  the  use  of  the  inhabitants  ( Council  Records, 
4th  January,  1805).     After  much  discussion  and  deliberation,  a  bill 
was  ultimately  framed,  and  passed  both  Houses  of  ParHament  with- 
out opposition,  and  received  the  Royal  assent  on  nth  July,  1806. 
The  expenses  incurred  in  obtaining  the  Act  were  ^^797,  which  the 
Council  advanced,  but  they  were   afterwards   repaid.      On    23rd 
August,  1806,  the  Council  agreed  "to  make  a  present  of  the  public 
lamps   and  lamp -irons   to   the    Commissioners  of  PoHce  for  the 
Burgh."     They  also  agreed  "to  allow  the  Commissioners  the  use  of 
the  outer  chamber  and  former  guard -room,  on  condition  of  their 
furnishing  coals  and  candles  for  their  officers  of  police."     At  first, 
and  down  at  least  till  1820,  the  Burgh  Police  force  consisted  of  a 
master  of  police,  two  sergeants,  four  corporals,  a  clerk,  a  surveyor 
of  houses,  and  twelve  night  watchmen.     The  watchmen  were  to  be 
on  their  respective  stations  at  ten  o'clock  at  night  from  April  to 
September  inclusive,  continuing  till  five  in  the  morning  ;  and  from 
October  to  March  inclusive,  at  nine  o'clock  at  night,  continuing 
until  six  in  the  morning  (George  Ritchie's  Directory  for  1820,  p.  56). 
The  Burgh  was  divided  into  nine  wards,  and  two  Commissioners 
were  chosen  for  each  ward  by  such  householders  as  paid  ^^5  or 
upwards  of  rent  yearly.     The  Magistrates  were  Commissioners  by 
oftice.     The  suburbs  were  divided  into  six  wards,  with  one  Com- 
missioner for  each  ;  the  Sheriff  being  always  a  Commissioner  ex 
officio.     The  rate  of  assessment  in  support  of  police,  &c.,  was — J[^2 
and  under  ^3,  sixpence    per  ^i  ;    £^2>    "^^^    under   ^5,    nine- 
pence   per   ^i  ;    ^^5  and  upwards,   one  shilling  per  ^\.      The 
following  table  gives  us  a  view  of  the  state  of  crime,  as  judged  by 
the  Magistrates,  from  1807  to  181 8  : — 


1807. 

1808. 

1809. 

1810. 

i8ti. 

1812. 

1813. 

1814. 

181S 

1816. 

1817 

1818. 

Persons  convict-  ) 

ed  of  breaches  > 

218 

267 

144 

169 

1.34 

1 06 

94 

167 

"3 

144 

146 

202 

of  the  peace,..  ) 

Cases  of  theft, 

4 

16 

16 

S 

II 

II 

9 

19 

25 

40 

40 

68 

Persons  convict-  ) 

ed  of  swincHing  \ 

2 

I 

2 

I 

~ 

2 

I 

I 

2 

4 

II 

Persons  fined  for  ) 

profanation  of  > 

— 

13 

7 

5 

— 

— 

— 

5 

8 

10 

21 

27 

the  Sabbath,..  ) 

Persons  convict-  ) 

ed  of  vending  > 

— - 

2 

3 

2 

6 

6 

4 

4 

8 

7 

4 

3 

base  money,  ..  ) 

Cases  of  house-  ) 
breaking, \ 

I 

— 

— 

2 

— 

— 

3 

2 

3 

8 

6 

Persons  convict-  1 

ed  of  reset  of  > 

— 

— 

— 

— 

— 

— 

— 

— 

I 

S 

2 

4 

theft,  ) 

Cases  of  murder, . . 

— 

— 

— 

— 

— 

— 

— 

I 

— 

— 

— 

— 

Robberies  on  the ") 

streets    or    in  ! 
the  vicinity  of  f 

— 

— 

— 

— 

- 

— 

— 

I 

4 

0 

2 

— 

the  town, J 

1 

l800    TILL    1825.  137 

Breaches  of  the  Peace. — Under  this  head  are  inckided  only  those 
who  suffered  punishment  either  by  fine  or  imprisonment.  Cases  of 
a  trivial  nature  dismissed  are  not  inserted.  The  greatness  of  the 
numbers  in  the  first  two  years  is  accounted  for  partly  by  the  oppo- 
sition at  first  offered  to  the  police  force,  as  it  imposed  a  greater 
restraint  on  the  turbulent ;  and  partly  by  the  number  of  strangers 
employed  at  the  canal,  who  frequently  got  drunk  and  became 
riotous. 

Cases  of  Theft. — This  table  only  includes  those  in  which  there 
were  convictions.  The  table  only  shows  the  number  of  cases,  and 
not  the  number  of  thieves. 

Profanatmi  of  the  Sabbath. — Under  this  head  are  included  land- 
lords of  public -houses  for  keeping  company  in  their  houses  till 
advanced  hours  on  Sunday  mornings. 

Murder. — -This  was  the  case  of  a  person  found  in  a  close  at 
night  with  marks  of  serious  injury  on  the  head,  which  caused 
death  on  the  same  afternoon.  The  Sheriff",  after  an  investigation, 
offered  a  reward  for  the  murderer  ;  but  the  wounds  may  have  been 
caused  by  a  fall. 

Robberies. — For  the  single  case  in  18 14  one  man  suffered  death  ; 
in  some  of  the  other  cases  the  culprits  were  undiscovered. 

To  operate  as  a  check  on  public  begging,  now  and  then  those 
found  in  the  act  were  apprehended  and  brought  before  the  Magis- 
trates. Those  taken  on  the  3rd  May,  181 7,  may  be  held  as  a 
specimen.     They  are  as  follows  : — 

The  number  on  that  day  was,        ...  ...  ...         53 

Of  whom  were  Irish,  ...  ...  ...  39 

Belonging  to  the  Burgh,         ...  ...  i 

From  different  parts  of  Scotland,  ...  13 


(Published  Statement  in  1820  by  Proi'ost  Williani  Carlile). 


53 


The  following  is  an  abstract  of  the  published  income  and  expendi- 
ture of  the  Burgh  Police  establishment  for  the  year  1816-17  : — 

Income. 
Money  advanced  for  lamplighting  at  last  balance,     ;^  1 6   13     i 
Assessments  received,     ...  ...  ...  ...      1231      7     8 

Fines,       ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         3115     ^ 

Manure,  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  17     5     o 

Owing  the  Union  Bank,  ...  ;^i2i     7     8 

Due  the  Bank  at  last  balance,   ...        114     7    10 

6   19  10 

Advanced  by  the  Treasurer  and  Accounts  not 

paid,     ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...         40  II     8 

^1344  12     9 


138  history  of  paisley. 

Expenditure. 
New  lamps  and  repairs,  ...         ...         ...     ^27   10     o 

Lighting  405  lamps,  22  weeks  5 

days,  between  7th  September, 

1816,  and  26th  March,  181 7,  at 

7^d.  per  week,  ;^287     9     6 

Lighting  3  lamps,  19  weeks  i  day, 

at  7^ d.  per  week,       ..         ...  i   15   11 

Lighting  5  lamps,  15  weeks  6  days, 

at  7^ d.  per  week,      ...  ...  296 

Lighting  93  lamps,  from  5  th  till 

25th  April,  1817,        ...  ...  700 

Lighting  93  lamps,  from  13th  till 

20th  August,  1817,     ...  ...  2   18     o 

301   12   II 


Salary  of  Superintendent  of  Police, 

Collector,  and  Treasurer, 

^1^0 

0 

0 

Salary  of  Clerk,  ... 

15 

0 

0 

Do.       2  sergeants,  at  ;^45,   ... 

90 

0 

0 

Wages  of  4  corporals,  at  12s.  per 

week,   ... 

124 

16 

0 

Wages  of  12  watchmen,  at  los. 

per  week. 

312 

0 

0 

Substitutes  and  extra  men  on  par- 

ticular occasions, 

12 

8 

6 

•       654     4 

2     7 

40   16 

89   19 

6 
6 
I 

0 

;.,     221    15 
6     7 

I 
8 

^1344  12 

_9 

Repairs  of  watch-boxes, 
Clothing  for  officers  and  watchmen, 
Scavengers  and  carting  manure. 
Stationery,  printing,   coal,   oil,   surveyor,   street 
improvements,  prosecuting  for  assessments,  &:c 
Interest  paid  Union  Bank, 


The  proprietors  of  the  Coffee  or  Reading- Room  in  Moss  Street, 
finding  the  accommodation  to  be  insufficient  for  the  number  of 
members  who  were  attending  it,  resolved,  in  1807,  to  acquire  ground 
on  which  to  erect  a  new  and  larger  building.  The  additional  capital 
required  was  ;^9ooo,  which  was  at  once  raised  by  a  new  company 
in  1200  shares  of  ;^7  los.  each.  The  present  handsome  building 
on  the  east  side  of  the  Cross,  with  its  elegant  front  to  High  Street, 
was  erected  from  drawings  supplied  by  Messrs.  Nicholson  &  Reid, 
architects.  The  Reading  Room,  which  is  beautifully  finished,  is  61 
feet  long,  45  feet  broad,  at  side  walls  20  feet  high,  and  in  the  centre 
28  feet  high.  The  old  Coffee  Room  and  shop  adjoining  were  sold 
by  public  roup,  on  6th  October,  1808,  and  realized  ;^i2oi.  It  was 
perhaps  quite  proper  to  call  the  Reading  Room,  while  it  formed 
part  of  the  chief  inn,  the  Coffee- Room  ;  but  it  was  very  strange  to 


l8oO    TILL    1825.  139 

continue  that  name  after  its  removal  to  separate  premises  in  Moss 
Street.  And  it  is  still  more  extraordinary  that  such  an  inappropriate 
name  should  be  perpetuated  in  its  application  to  the  entire  new 
range  of  buildings.  During  the  erection  of  the  building,  the  Town 
Council  resolved  to  hold  a  jubilee  on  the  50th  anniversary  of  King 
George  III.'s  accession  to  the  throne  on  25th  October,  1809,  and 
as  the  large  room  in  the  Saracen's  Inn  was  found  to  be  too  small  to 
accommodate  the  140  gentlemen  who  were  to  dine  on  that  occasion, 
the  dinner  took  place  in  the  new  Reading  Room.  This  jubilee  was 
celebrated  in  a  most  harmonious,  loyal,  and  imposing  manner,  and 
was  conducted  according  to  a  programme  prepared  by  the  Council. 
The  following  graphic  account  of  this  jubilee  is  taken  from  the 
records  of  the  Old  Weavers'  Society  : — • 

"  This  day  being  the  anniversary  of  His  Majesty's  accession  to 
the  throne,  and  the  commencement  of  the  fiftieth  year  of  his  reign, 
it  was  natural  to  expect  that  an  era  so  interesting  would  not  pass 
without  an  unusual  display  of  loyalty  and  patriotism  among  the 
inhabitants  of  Paisley,  and  that  attachment  to  the  Constitution  and 
respect  for  our  venerable  monarch  should  show  themselves  in  suitable 
expressions  of  joy  and  satisfaction.  Accordingly,  at  eight  in  the 
morning,  flags  were  hoisted,  and  the  public  bells  were  rung  from 
eight  till  ten.  At  eleven,  the  Magistrates  and  Council  and  others 
assembled  in  the  Council  Chambers — the  managers  of  the  after- 
mentioned  Corporations  in  the  Court-hall,  and  the  officers,  &c.,  of 
the  Militia  regiment  at  the  Cross — for  the  purpose  of  walking  to  the 
church  in  procession.  Immediately  thereafter,  the  procession  moved 
in  the  following  order  : — (i).  The  Magistrates  and  Council,  preceded 
by  the  town  officers  with  their  halberts  and  a  band  of  music,  and 
accompanied  by  William  Macdowal,  Esq.  of  Garthland,  Lord- 
Lieutenant  of  the  County  and  M.P.  for  the  County ;  Alex.  Porterfield, 
Esq.  of  Duchal,  and  Robert  Fulton,  Esq.  of  Hartfield,  Deputy- 
Lieutenant  ;  Bovd  Alexander,  Esq.  of  Southbar,  and  Alex.  Campbell, 
Esq.,  Sheriff- Substitute.  (2).  Colonel  M'Kerrell  and  the  other 
officers  of  the  3rd  Regiment  of  Renfrewshire  Local  Militia.  (3). 
Permanent  staff  of  the  2nd  R.L.M.  (4).  Incorporation  of  Tailors  ; 
Incorporations  of  Weavers,  of  Maltmen,  of  Wrights,  of  Merchants, 
of  Fleshers,  and  of  Hammermen.  The  procession  occupied  the 
front  and  second  seats  in  the  galleries  of  the  High  Church,  where 
they  heard  an  excellent  and  appropriate  sermon  preached  by  the  Rev. 
John  Findlay,  from  ist  Tim.  xi.,  i,  2.—'  I  exhort  therefore  that  first 
of  all  supplications,  intercessions,  and  giving  of  thanks,  be  made  for 
all  men.  For  kings  and  for  all  that  are  in  authority,  that  we  may 
lead  a  quiet  and  peaceable  life  in  all  Godliness  and  honesty.'  The 
procession,  in  returning  from  the  church,  had  to  pass  through  an  im- 
mense crowd  which  the  novelty  of  the  scene  had  collected  ;  and,  after 
marching  round  the  whole  square  of  the  market-place,  they  dismissed 
opposite  the  Council  Chambers.  At  two  o'clock,  the  Magistrates, 
Council,  Lord -Lieutenants,  and  a  number  of  the  County  gentlemen, 
drank  His  Majesty's  health  and  that  of  the  Royal  Family  on  the 


140  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

jail  stair -head — a  party  of  the  third  regiment  R.L.M.  firing  a  volley 
after  each  toast.  The  bells  were  rung  from  two  till  four.  At  four, 
140  gentlemen  sat  down  to  a  subscription  dinner  in  the  new  Coffee - 
Room — the  Lord -Lieutenant  in  the  chair.  This  party  consisted  of 
the  Magistrates,  Council,  the  most  wealthy  inhabitants,  and  a 
considerable  number  of  county  gentlemen.  There  were  many 
private  dining  parties  in  the  different  inns,  and  the  inhabitants 
spent  the  day  in  festivity  and  conviviality,  with  a  propriety  of  con- 
duct highly  creditable  to  themselves  and  suitable  to  the  memorable 
occasion.  The  bells  were  again  rung  from  7  till  9  p.m.,  and  the 
greatest  good  order  prevailed,  tliough  in  the  evening  vast  crowds 
thronged  the  streets.  Mr.  Pattison,  the  boxmaster  of  this  society, 
being  in  England,  James  Brown,  eldest  deacon  in  the  management, 
acted  as  boxmaster  of  this  incorporation." 

We  have  not  been  able  to  discover  from  the  Council  records  or 
any  other  authentic  source  when  the  "West  Port"  was  removed. 
On  7th  November,  1807,  the  Council  agreed  to  dispose  of  the 
Almshouse  with  the  "wee  steeple,"  by  public  roup,  "under  reserva- 
tion of  the  clock,  bell,  and  lead  work  about  the  steeple,  and  all  the 
metal  and  apparatus."  ^  The  property  was  accordingly  sold  on  24th 
December  following,  and  realised  ;j^5t2.  There  was  a  public 
arched  passage  through  the  Almshouse  leading  to  Oakshaw  Street, 
and  known  by  the  name  of  the  "  Pen  Brae."  Sometime  previous 
to  this,  Orr  Street  was  formed,  and  the  Council  agreed  that  "as  the 
road  from  West  Steeple  to  Oakshawhead  is  no  longer  useful  in 
consequence  of  the  opening  of  Orr  Street,  the  feuars  in  which  have 
given  their  consent  to  its  being  employed  as  a  public  passage,  the 
Council  gave  orders  for  presenting  to  the  Quarter  Sessions  the 
necessary  application  for  procuring  authority  for  shutting  up  and 
discontinuing  the  said  road."  The  present  Orr  Street  and  passage 
to  the  north  is  still  sometimes  called,  by  the  older  inhabitants,  the 
"  Pen  Brae." 

A  very  curious  proposal  was  sent  to  the  Council  regarding  the 
supplying  of  the  inhabitants  with  fish.  On  25th  August,  1807, 
"  a  letter  from  Mr.  Robert  Boyd,  Largs,  soliciting  a  premium  for 
supplying  the  town  with  fish,  was  read,  and  the  Clerk  was  appointed 
to  write  to  him  to  learn  what  sum  he  expects  and  what  premium  he 
is  to  receive  from  Glasgow."  This  matter  is  not,  however,  referred 
to  again. 

At  the  different  fairs  prior  to  1809,  it  appears  that  the  amuse- 
ments, stands  for  the  sale  of  confections  and  goods  of  almost  every 
kind,  along  with  the  other  accompaniments  of  a  public  fair,  all 
found  place  at  the  Cross.      The  shopkeepers  around  the  Cross 

^  Mr.  Love,  who  built  Hope  Temple  in  Love  Street,  bought  the  bell  and  clock 
from  the  Council  for  £^4,  and  placed  them  in  the  spire  there,  and  also  the 
weather-cock,  which  he  placed  on  the  top  of  the  spire. 


l8oO    TILL    1825.  141 

objected  to  this,  and  petitioned  the  Council  to  remove  this  grievance. 
"After  long  deliberation  on  the  subject,  they  resolved  by  a  great 
majority  that  the  four  public  fairs  held  annually  within  the  burgh 
shall  be  henceforth  discontinued  at  the  Cross,  and  held  in  Caledonia 
Street,  James  Street,  and  James  Place  betwixt  James  Street  and 
Moss  Street,  and  public  notification  of  this  alteration  of  long- 
established  usage  was  appointed  to  be  given  by  proclamation  by 
the  town  officers,  circulation  of  printed  bills,  and  advertisements  in 
some  of  the  newspapers  "  (Council  Records,  17th  November,  1809), 

The  Paisley  Philosophical  Society  was  instituted  on  25th  Sep- 
tember, 1809,  by  a  few  intelligent  and  energetic  gentlemen  belonging 
to  the  town,  who  were  animated  with  the  very  proper  desire  of 
promoting  scientific  study.  On  that  date,  the  first  record  was  as 
follows  :  —  At  a  meeting  of  the  Paisley  Philosophical  Society,  held 
in  their  lecture -room,  it  being  the  first  Monday  after  the  autumnal 
equinox,  the  following  members  attended :  William  Waterston, 
Andrew  Young,  Malcolm  Lang,  Thomas  Hutchison,  Thomas  Auld, 
James  Duncan,  Allan  King,  Gilbert  Smith,  Rev.  William  Ferrier, 
Alexander  Carlile.  The  business  for  which  the  meeting  was  con- 
vened was  commenced  by  the  President  reading  over  the  articles  or 
regulations  of  the  society,  when,  after  being  debated  and  corrected, 
they  were  unanimously  agreed  to,  and  ordered  to  be  printed. 
Afterwards  the  society  proceeded  to  the  election  of  managers  for  the 
year  ensuing,  when  they  made  choice  of  the  Rev.  William  Ferrier 
as  president,  Messrs.  Alexander  Carlile  as  secretary,  William 
Robertson  as  treasurer,  and  Thomas  Hutchison,  Andrew  Young, 
and  Thomas  Auld,  directors.  The  second  meeting  was  held  on 
Monday,  2nd  October  following,  when  the  Rev.  William  Ferrier 
delivered  a  lecture  on  the  subject  of  Philosophical  research,  which 
is  thus  described  in  the  minute-book — "On  this  subject  he  pro- 
posed to  advert  to  several  topics,  but  confined  himself  at  present 
to  the  general  character  of  philosophy.  He  spoke  of  the  meaning 
of  the  term  philosophy,  showed  that  philosophy  is  the  knowledge  of 
what  is  first  in  nature,  that  nothing  can  be  admitted  as  philosophic 
truth  but  what  is  supported  by  proper  evidence,  that  philosophic 
truth  is  ascertained  by  observation  and  experiment,  that  philosophy 
is  conversant  with  the  whole  phenomena  in  nature,  which  may  all 
be  reduced  to  two  kinds — viz.,  existences  and  events — that  it  is 
the  object  of  the  philosopher  to  attend  to  the  character  and  circum- 
stances of  particular  existences  and  particular  events,  to  compare 
among  themselves  the  phenomena  in  each  of  these  great  divisions, 
in  order  to  mark  wherein  they  agree  and  wherein  they  differ,  and  in 
order  to  arrange  them  by  their  circumstances  of  agreement  into 
classes,  general  and  subordinate." 

During  the  remainder  of  this  session,  the  lectures  were  delivered 
as  follows  : — 

Allan  King  —  Attractions. 

Thomas  Hutchison  —  Physical  Properties  of  Light. 


142  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

David  Allan  —  Hydrostatics  and  Hydraulics. 
Gilbert  Smith  —  Chemical  Property  of  Light. 
Robert  Laird  —  Anatomy  and  Physiology. 
Archibald  Duncan — Botany. 
Thomas  Hunter  —  Mechanics. 
James  Laird  —  Electricity. 
Thomas  Auld  —  Moral  Philosophy. 
Robert  Laird  —  Anatomy. 
Archibald  Carlile  —  Structure  of  the  Earth,  &zc. 
James  Thomson  —  Latent  Heat. 
Andrew  Ferrier  —  Volcanoes. 
James  Kerr  —  Mode  of  Teaching  Chemistry. 
(Records  of  the  Society.) 

Such  were  the  practical  and  scientific  subjects  treated  of  during 
the  first  year  of  this  society,  which  now  holds  such  a  praiseworthy 
and  important  position  among  the  associations  of  the  town. 

On  26th  February,  18 10,  Messrs.  Robert  Watt  and  Hugh  Vallance 
were,  on  the  proposal  of  Mr.  Andrew  Young,  admitted  members. 
The  former  is  well  known  as  Dr.  Robert  Watt,  author  of  Bibliotheca 
Britaiinica,  who  was  a  medical  practitioner  in  Paisley.  It  is  not 
stated  in  what  place  these  lectures  were  delivered,  but  we  learn 
from  the  records  of  the  society  that  on  24th  September,  18 10,  the 
members  for  the  first  time  "  assembled  in  their  new  hall  in  Sneddon 
Street "  (this  was  a  back  building,  now  No.  7  Old  Sneddon  Street). 
By  this  time,  they  had  collected  and  acquired  a  good  many  articles 
to  form  a  museum,  and  on  the  3rd  of  the  following  month  they 
agreed  "  that  the  museum  shall  be  open  to  the  public  every  day 
between  the  hours  of  one  and  two  o'clock."  Mr.  Young  was 
appointed  superintendent  of  the  museum,  and  Mr.  Thomas  Hunter 
of  the  apparatus,  for  the  ensuing  year.  During  the  second  session 
— 1810-11 — twelve  lectures  were  delivered  by  the  members  ;  and 
on  23rd  September,  181 1,  the  treasurer  laid  before  the  meeting  a 
statement  of  the  cash  transactions  for  the  past  year,  the  expenditure 
being  ;^ii3  4s.  iid.  and  the  receipts  _;;^ 1 1 2  13s.  2d.  The  society 
was  now  so  firmly  established  that  the  members  deemed  it  proper 
to  apply  to  the  Magistrates  and  Town  Council  to  be  incorporated 
by  charter.  The  petition  for  charter  states  that  the  office-bearers, 
whose  names  are  given,  "  and  several  other  persons  belonging  to 
the  town  and  neighbourhood  had  been  united  since  the  year  1808 
into  a  society  denominated  the  Paisley  Philosophical  Institution, 
estabhshed  for  the  purpose  of  promoting  the  theoretical  and  practical 
knowledge  of  philosophy.  That  at  their  meetings  essays  were 
delivered,  experiments  exhibited,  and  conversations  maintained  by 
the  members  upon  philosophical  subjects  agreeably  to  certain  rules 
which  had  been  made  for  the  government  of  the  society.  That  by 
purchase  and  donations  the  society  had  acquired  an  experimental 
apparatus,  a  museum  of  natural  and  artificial  curiosities,  and  a 
library,  to  each  of  which  additions  were  being  made  from  time  to  time. 


l8oO    TILL    1825,  143 

That,  owing  to  the  increasing  number  of  its  members,  the  institution 
had  been  gradually  rising  in  importance,  and  promised  to  be  highly 
beneficial  not  only  to  its  own  members  but  also  to  the  community 
at  large.  That  it  was  their  opinion  that  the  society  should  be  in- 
corporated, with  power  to  acquire  and  possess  property,  to  prosecute 
by  the  name  of  the  Paisley  Philosophical  Institution,  to  make  laws 
for  the  management  of  its  funds,  and  to  establish  other  rules  for 
conducting  the  affairs  and  promoting  the  objects  of  the  society." 
The  Magistrates  and  Council  granted  a  charter  accordingly, 
"  declaring  that,  in  the  event  of  the  dissolution  of  the  said  corpora- 
tion, all  its  collections  and  effects  of  every  description  shall  devolve 
upon  and  belong  in  trust  for  the  public  to  those  individuals  who 
shall  then  and  thenceforth  in  succession  constitute  the  medical 
department  of  the  united  establishment  of  the  Dispensary  and 
House  of  Recovery  in  Paisley,  the  Committee  of  Management  of 
the  Coffee-Room  in  Paisley,  and  the  Curators  of  the  Library  of 
Paisley,  instituted  in  1803,  under  which  provision  and  declaration 
this  our  charter  is  especially  granted."  The  charter  is  dated  28th 
September,  1812. 

Every  succeeding  session,  down  to  about  1818,  the  reading  of 
essays  was  continued  with  great  regularity  by  both  old  and  new 
members.  In  the  session  of  1 818 -19,  Mr.  William  Motherwell,  the 
poet,  read  an  essay  on  INIetaphysics,  and  in  the  following  session  he 
read,  as  the  records  state,  "  an  elaborate  essay  on  the  Scottish 
language."  He  afterwards  read  another  essay  on  the  same  subject. 
On  1 8th  October,  18 19,  seventeen  members  resigned,  the  reason 
assigned  by  them  being  that  "  they  found  it  entirely  out  of  their 
power,  or  at  all  events  very  inconvenient,  to  attend  the  meetings." 
But  twenty  members  still  remained,  and  the  entry- money  was  fixed 
at  one  guinea.  In  the  following  year,  a  sufficient  number  of  mem- 
bers could  not  be  got  to  give  lectures  ;  and  the  president,  Mr. 
George  Miller,  at  a  meeting  held  on  30th  September,  stated  "  that 
in  consequence  of  the  laxity  of  many  of  the  members,  not  only  in 
reading  essays  before  the  institution,  but  in  their  marked  indifier- 
ence  as  to  attendance,  it  became  a  matter  of  necessity  to  resort  to 
some  new  measures  for  the  purpose  of  keeping  the  society  together. 
This  neglect  on  the  part  of  many  of  the  members,  he  considered, 
Avas  owing  in  great  degree  to  the  little  certainty  they  have  of  hear- 
ing essays  regularly  delivered  in  the  hall.  To  obviate  all  this,  he 
deemed  it  expedient  that  a  stated  lecturer  should  be  provided." 
The  members  present  were  of  the  same  opinion ;  and  some  time 
afterwards,  Mr.  John  Steele,  practical  chemist,  Greenock,  was 
chosen  to  give  a  course  of  lectures  on  Natural  Philosophy.  At 
this  time  thirty -one  new  members  joined  the  society.  On  9th 
August,  1822,  the  Directors  agreed  to  forward  an  address  to  King 
George  IV.  on  the  occasion  of  His  Majesty's  visit  to  Scotland.  On 
9th  December,  1822,  "a  vote  of  thanks  was  given  to  Mr.  Henning, 
London,  for  his  gift  of  a  set  of  valuable  casts  from  the  Elgin 
marbles,"  and  he  w^as  also  chosen  an  honorary  member  of  the  insti- 


144  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

tution.  Mr.  John  Kennedy,  teacher,  Paisley,  at  this  time  offered  his 
services  as  lecturer;  and  on  3rd  November,  1823,  he  was  elected 
to  fill  that  position.  It  was  arranged  that  he  should  give  twenty- 
four  lectures  :  ten  on  Astronomy,  two  on  Optics,  three  on  the 
Atmosphere,  three  on  Electricity  and  Galvanism,  two  on  Caloric, 
two  on  Water,  and  one  on  Gas.  At  a  meeting  on  27th  December 
following,  a  letter  from  Mr.  Kennedy  was  read,  declining  to  be  a 
candidate  for  the  office  of  lecturer ;  and  thereafter  Mr.  Murray  was 
chosen  lecturer  for  next  session,  at  a  salary  of  ^100.  The  pre- 
sidents during  this  period  were  as  follows  : — Rev.  William  Ferrier, 
in  1809,  1812,  1813,  1814,  1816  ;  Rev.  James  Thomson,  in  1810; 
Mr.  Robert  Laird,  in  1811,  1817;  Rev.  Robert  Burns,  in  1815, 
1818 ;  Mr.  George  Miller,  from  18 19  till  1823  ;  and  Wm.  Waterston, 
in  1824.  The  secretaries  were  Alexander  Carlile,  in  1809,  1814; 
Rev.  William  Ferrier,  in  1810,  181 1  ;  Alexander  Simpson,  in  181 2, 
1813  ;  Dr.  Rodman,  in  181 5  ;  Rev.  R.  Burns,  in  1816,  1817; 
George  Miller,  in  1818;  William  Waterston,  in  181 9  ;  William 
Motherwell,  from  1820  till  1823  ;  and  Robert  Wylie,  in  1824. 

The  first  Paisley  Directory  published  in  Paisley  after  Mr.  John 
Tait's  in  1783,  already  referred  to,  was  compiled  by  Mr.  William 
Bell,  teacher  in  the  Low  Parish  School,  Storie  Street,  in  1810.  He 
published  it  for  that  year  only.  The  next  Directory  was  published 
in  181 2  by  Mr.  C.  Gilroy,  teacher  of  writing  and  accounts.  Cross, 
Paisley.  Besides  a  list  of  names,  it  contains  a  great  deal  of  interesting 
and  useful  information  relating  to  that  period.  So  far  as  we  can  dis- 
cover, there  was  a  lapse  of  seven  years  before  another  Directory  was 
published — viz.,  that  by  George  Ritchie  in  181 9  and  1820.  As  his  own 
name  does  not  appear  in  his  book,  the  probability  is  that  he  did  not 
carry  on  any  business  in  the  town.  The  Directory  which  followed 
was  published  in  1823  by  Robert  Biggar.  He  was  the  collector  of 
police  assessments,  and  resided  at  No.  23  Love  Street.  Four  years 
passed  without  the  publication  of  any  Directory  in  Paisley.  In 
1827,  Mr.  George  Fowler,  bookseller,  commenced  to  publish  a 
Directory,  and  continued  to  do  so  every  year  for  the  long  period  of 
twenty-seven  years.  His  last  volume  was  for  1853-54.  His  first 
Directory  consisted  of  96  pages,  and  his  last  one  of  178  pages. 
This  arose  from  the  increase  in  the  population,  the  introduction  of 
additional  matter,  and  the  inclusion  of  the  names  of  those  residing 
in  Johnstone  and  Quarrelton.^  More  than  one  Directory  was 
started  in  rivalry  witli  Mr.  Fowler's.  In  July,  1840,  Messrs.  Dick 
&  Macfarlane  published  a  Paisley  Directory  for  1840-41,  the 
inhabitants  being  classified  according  to  their  professions,  and  not 
according  to  surnames,  in  alphabetical  order.  A  chart  of  the  streets 
was  also  given.     In  1844,  Messrs.  Biggar  &  Macfarlane,  booksellers, 

^  Mr.  Fowler  published  in  1834,  in  pamphlet  form,  the  historical  and  de- 
scriptive sketches  of  the  towns  and  principal  villages  in  the  Upper  Ward  of 
Renfrewshire  which  had  already  appeared  in  his  Directoiy. 


l800    TILL    1S25.  145 

Cross,  published  a  Directory  ;  and  in  1848  Mr.  Matthew  Spreull, 
residing  at  Linwood,  brought  out  a  Directory.  After  the  pubHca- 
tion  of  Mr.  Fowler's  last  Directory,  four  years  elapsed  before  any 
one  undertook  the  publication  of  another.  In  1857,  Mr.  Peter 
Hinshelwood,  auctioneer,  issued  a  Directory,  and  continued  to  do  so 
annually  till  1862.  In  the  following  year — 1862-63  —  Mr.  Richard 
Watson,  proprietor  of  the  Paisley  Herald,  commenced  to  publish  a 
Directory,  and  continued  to  do  so  yearly  till  his  death  in  1880.  His 
last  volume  was  for  1880-81,  and  the  publication  was  continued  by 
his  son,  Mr.  W.  B.  Watson,  till  1883-84,  when  Messrs.  J.  &  J.  Cook, 
the  proprietors  of  the  Paisley  and  Renfrewshire  Gazette,  purchased  the 
copyright  of  the  Directory  along  with  the  plant  of  the  Paisley  Herald. 
Mr.  James  Winning,  accountant,  published  a  Paisley  Directory  for 
1864-65  and  1866-67.  There  were  only  210  pages  in  Watson's  first 
Directory,  and  the  last  consisted  of  376  pages.  Much  useful  and 
interesting  information  was  added  to  the  work  during  that  period, 
and  in  the  Directory  for  1883-84  a  map  of  the  town  within  the 
Parliamentary  boundary  was  introduced  for  the  first  time.  That 
and  subsequent  issues  included  names  of  persons  residing  in  Ren- 
frew, Johnstone,  Elderslie,  Thornhill,  Quarrelton,  Balaclava, 
Clippens,  Inkermann,  and  Linwood. 

At  the  end  of  last  century,  and  also  during  the  period  em- 
braced in  this  chapter,  several  societies  of  different  kinds  were 
established,  all  having  for  their  aim  the  advancement  of  the  interests 
and  the  amelioration  of  the  condition  of  the  humbler  classes.  The 
Widow  and  Orphan  Society  was  formed  in  1776.  From  its  yearly 
subscriptions  and  other  sources  of  income,  it  contributed  money, 
provisions,  and  coals.  The  Female  Benevolent  Society  was  es- 
tablished in  181 1.  Its  income  in  181 2  was  about  ^300,  and  it 
was  most  beneficial  in  assisting  aged  and  indigent  females,  and 
particularly  in  giving  clothing  to  aged  females.  In  that  year,  534 
were  relieved  (Burns  on  the  Poor  Lazus,  p.  22).  The  Female 
Union  Society  had  also  the  same  objects  in  view.  The  Female  Bible 
Association  was  instituted  in  1819.  There  was  a  branch  for  the 
Abbey  and  one  for  the  three  town  parishes.  In  1820-21,  the  total 
sum  available  for  the  purchasing  of  Bibles  was  ;^2  23.  There  was 
also  instituted  on  31st  March,  181 7,  a  society  in  Paisley  and  its 
vicinity  for  Gaelic  missions  to  the  Highlands  and  Islands  of  Scot- 
land. The  object  of  the  society  was  the  diffusion  of  Divine 
knowledge  ;  and  the  office-bearers  and  missionaries  consisted  of 
persons  of  every  denomination  holding  Evangelical  sentiments. 

In  the  first  decade  of  this  century,  a  marvellous  number  of 
Friendly  Societies  was  established  which  adopted  local  or  street 
names.  During  their  continuance,  they  were  of  great  benefit  to 
their  distressed  members  ;  but  many  of  them,  after  a  brief  existence, 
disappeared.  This  was  in  consequence  of  their  being  founded  upon 
erroneous  principles.     The  great  number  of  these  societies,  and  the 


146  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY'. 

able  support  they  received  from  the  inhabitants,  along  with  the 
considerable  sums  they  paid  annually,  will  be  best  understood  from 
the  following  statement : — 

Journcytnen  Societies.  —  Brewers,  Ayrshire,  Prince,  Sandholes, 
Paisley  Gardeners,  Widow  and  Orphans,  Croft,  Maxwellton, 
Cumberland.  These  nine  Journeymen  Societies  expended  in  sup- 
port of  their  members  —  in  1805,  ^666  i6s.  4d.;  in  1806, 
;^5o2  IIS.  id.;  in  1807,^^516  iis.  yd.;  in  1808,^^528  iis.  5d.; 
in  1809,  ;^455  IS.; — making  an  average  expenditure  for  each  year 
of  ^543  13s-  5d. 

Frietidly  Societies. — Moss  Row,  Paisley  Old,  Cumberland,  Paisley 
Union,  Causeyside,  New  Street,  Re -United,  Sneddon,  Sawyers, 
Journeymen  Wrights,  Maxwellton,  New  Maxwellton,  New  and  Old 
Town,  Young  Sneddon,  Croft,  Ferguslie,  Gordon's  Loan.  Storie 
Street,  Seedhills,  Middle  Aged,  Smithhills  and  Loan  Wells, 
Newtown,  Strangers,  United,  Bedfast  and  Funeral,  Journeymen 
Tailors,  John  Street,  High  Street.  These  twenty- six  Friendly 
Societies  expended  in  the  support  of  their  distressed  members — 
in  1805,  ^407  2S.  iid. ;  in  1806,  ;^45i  i6s.  iid.  ;  in  1807, 
^435  13s-  5d-;  in  1808,^448  i8s.  7d.;  in  1809,^^478  8s.;— being 
an  average  expenditure  for  each  year  of  ^443  19s.  iid.  (Glasgow 
Neivspaper '\\\  November,  1810). 

The  Paisley  Ayrshire  Society,  whose  stock  amounted  to  about 
;^6oo,  held  a  meeting  on  30th  August,  181 1,  to  consider  their 
condition.  They  found  that,  from  the  depressed  state  of  the  times, 
by  continuing  their  present  aliment  the  funds  would  in  a  short  time 
be  reduced  to  a  state  similar  to  that  of  some  of  the  other  societies 
of  the  same  nature,  which  were  now^  unable  to  pay  any  aliment. 
Some  of  them,  indeed,  were  completely  annihilated.  They  agreed 
to  reduce  the  aliment  as  nearly  as  could  be  calculated  to  the  existing 
income  of  the  society.  They  also  resolved  to  levy  money  from  the 
members  to  enable  them  to  resume,  as  soon  as  possible,  the  pay- 
ment of  the  former  aliment. 

In  1 8 II,  there  were  seventeen  fleshers  carrying  on  business  in 
the  town,  and  the  number  of  animals  slaughtered  for  them  at  the 
public  shambles  stood  thus — Cows,  1937;  calves,  1640;  sheep, 
2561  ;  lambs,  4091  ;  and  hogs,  145  ; — in  all,  10,374.  The  dues 
charged  by  the  Council  was  sixpence  for  each  cow ;  one  penny  for 
each  calf,  sheep,  and  hog ;  and  one  halfpenny  for  each  lamb.  The 
greatest  number  slaughtered  for  one  flesher  was  for  Robert  Braid — 
namely,  15 16 — and  the  next  highest  was  for  Robert  Speirs,  the 
number  being  1273.  The  total  dues  received  in  that  year  by  the 
Council  was  ;^ 7 5  is.  i^d. 

We  have  already  more  than  once  referred  to  periods  of  severe 
depression  of  trade  in  the  town,  and  the  distress  thereby  caused  to 
the  working  population.     In   181 1,  trade  generally  throughout  the 


l8oO    TILL    1825.  147 

country  was  in  a  very  unsatisfactory  condition,  and  the  depression 
was  severely  felt  in  the  town  by  both  manufacturers  and  operatives. 
At  the  commencement  of  that  year,  the  sufferings  of  many  of  the 
working -classes  through  inability  to  obtain  employment  was  very 
great.  A  meeting  of  the  inhabitants,  at  the  request  of  the  Magis- 
trates, was  held  in  the  Court- House  on  4th  February  in  that  year, 
for  the  purpose  of  devising  measures  for  the  relief  of  the  unemployed 
operatives.  The  meeting  agreed  that  immediate  and  efficient 
measures  should  be  adopted  for  relieving  the  wants  and  alleviating 
the  distress  of  many  of  the  working-classes,  which  from  various 
causes  they  "  experienced  to  an  extent  unprecedented  in  the  town." 
The  meeting  was  numerously  attended,  a  large  committee  was 
appointed  to  soUcit  subscriptions,  and,  in  consequence  of  the 
immediate  pressure  of  distress  upon  the  poor,  they  were  authorised 
to  apply  a  sum  not  exceeding  ;!^2oo  for  their  relief  Among  those 
solicited  for  subscriptions  were  the  Marquis  of  Abercorn,  Earl  of 
Glasgow,  and  Lord  Douglas,  as  they  owned  lands  in  the  immediate 
neighbourhood  of  the  town.  Public  collections  were  also  made  in 
all  the  churches  and  places  of  worship  in  the  town,  under  the 
sanction  of  the  Magistrates,  who  were  also  desired  by  the  committee 
to  appoint  proper  persons  to  wait  on  the  farmers  in  the  district  for 
contributions  of  produce  to  the  fund.  Owners  of  coal  works  were 
also  solicited  for  donations  of  coals.  On  25th  February — three 
weeks  after  the  first  meeting  was  held — Mr.  Barclay,  the  treasurer, 
reported  that  the  subscriptions  amounted  to  upwards  of  ;^82  5. 
On  the  8th  of  the  following  month,  it  was  intimated  that  459  pecks 
of  oatmeal,  405  pecks  of  potatoes,  and  ^^14  ns.  2d.  in  cash,  had 
been  distributed  to  the  unemployed  in  the  previous  week  (Minutes 
of  Relief  Committee).  Part  of  the  Canal  between  Paisley  and 
Glasgow  was  unfinished.  When  the  Town  Council,  on  14th  June, 
petitioned  Parliament  and  memorialised  the  Chancellor  of  the 
Exchequer,  among  other  things  they  stated  "  that  for  many  months 
bygone  the  trade  and  manufactures  of  this  large  commercial  town 
have  been  subjected  to  a  degree  of  depression  and  limitation  hitherto 
unprecedented,  and,  from  whatever  causes  originating,  the  revival  of 
them  is  an  idea  which  the  memorialists  lament  to  say  cannot  at  the 
present  moment  be  with  any  kind  of  security  indulged  ;  that  the 
operative  classes  of  the  community  have  with  laudable  resignation 
yielded  to  the  severe  privation  inevitably  consequent  upon  the 
present  distressed  state  of  commercial  affairs,  and  the  most  liberal 
and  beneficent  subscriptions  have  from  time  to  time  been  procured 
from  the  opulent  portion  of  the  inhabitants  for  the  relief  of  those 
who  were  either  altogether  unemployed  or  whose  wages,  in  conse- 
quence of  the  unexampled  reduction  of  prices,  Avere  totally 
inadequate  to  support  themselves  ;  that  these  resources,  although 
distributed  with  the  most  judicious  economy  and  discrimination,  are 
now  nearly  exhausted;  and  the  memorialists,  as  guardians  of  the 
public  comfort  and  tranquility,  deprecate  the  alarming  efl'ects  which 
may  result  from  habits  of  idleness  in  a  hitherto  industrious  popula- 


148  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

tion  consisting  of  many  thousands."  The  memoriahsts  after- 
wards go  on  to  state  that,  looking  about  for  employment  to  the 
operatives,  the  canal  not  being  finished,  "  they  suggest  that 
a  portion  of  the  funds  of  the  Government  could  not  be  more  pro- 
perly and  usefully  invested  than  in  the  completion  of  the  canal." 
Such  money  as  might  be  advanced  would  be  afterwards  refunded. 
The  records  do  not  state  what  was  the  reply  to  this  application,  but 
it  must  have  been  unfavourable.  After  a  time,  trade  gradually  im- 
proved; and  on  the  14th  January,  1812,  when  there  was  rather 
more  than  ;^  11  in  the  treasurer's  hands,  the  committee  agreed  that 
the  balance,  whatever  it  might  turn  out  to  be,  should  be  paid  over  to 
the  managers  of  the  Female  Benevolent  Society. 

In  December,  181 2,  it  appears  that  trade  had  so  much  revived, 
that  illegal  combinations  of  operative  weavers  had  been  to  a  large 
extent  entered  into  for  the  purpose  of  compelling  their  employers  to 
raise  their  wages,  and  in  prosecuting  their  aims  they  struck  work  in 
a  body.  The  Sheriff  of  Renfrewshire,  Magistrates  of  Paisley,  and 
Justices  of  the  County  issued  a  proclamation,  dated  the  17th  of  that 
month,  strictly  prohibiting  all  such  illegal  combinations,  and  ad- 
monishing and  enjoining  all  operative  weavers  to  return  to  their 
work  without  delay,  with  certification  that  the  law  shall  be  vigorously 
enforced  against  all  offenders.  As  various  friendly  societies  within 
the  county  had  voted  away  their  funds  to  support  persons  engaged 
in  these  combinations,  the  proclamation  earnestly  made  recom- 
mendation to  all  persons  to  give  no  pecuniary  assistance  to  any 
persons  that  are  able  but  not  willing  to  work ;  and  declared  that  all 
such  appropriations  of  the  funds  of  friendly  societies  were  contrary 
to  law.  The  proclamation  strictly  prohibited  all  persons  from 
molesting  or  intimidating  weavers  who  are  working  or  disposed  to 
work,  and  declared  that  the  full  protection  of  the  law  would  be 
given  to  all  persons  persevering  in  habits  of  honest  industry ;  and 
renewed  the  offer  of  a  reward  of  ;^2o  (contained  in  the  proclama- 
tion of  the  nth  of  that  month)  to  anyone  who  would  give  the 
desired  information  against  offenders. 

In  our  last  chapter,  we  pointed  out  the  number  of  public  carriers 
connected  with  Paisley  and  several  other  towns  about  the  end  of 
thelast  century,  as  indicating  the  amount  of  intercourse  between  these 
towns  and  Paisley.  It  is  not  difticult  to  detect  the  principal  causes 
for  so  extensive  a  traftic.  Notwithstanding  the  number  of  weavers 
in  Paisley,  they  were  unable  to  execute  all  the  work  for  which  the 
manufacturers  had  orders  ;  and  hence  the  latter  employed  handloom 
weavers  not  only  in  the  villages  of  Renfrewshire,  but  in  many  of 
those  of  Ayrshire.  This  traftic  did  not  consist  merely  in  the  carry- 
ing of  webs  and  material  connected  therewith,  for  this  intercourse 
led  to  a  large  traftic  in  other  goods  purchased  from  the  Paisley 
shopkeepers.  Some  of  the  Paisley  manufacturers  did  not  employ 
any  Paisley  weavers  at  all,  but  had  agents  in  the  villages  who  got 


l800    TILL    1825.  149 

work  executed  for  them.  This  largely  tended  to  increase  also  the 
business  of  the  public  carrier.  The  following  gives  the  carriers' 
quarters  in  Paisley,  with  times  of  arrival  and  departure.  It  shows 
an  immense  increase  as  compared  with  1783  : — 

Beith  —  Arrives  at  Daniel  Wright's,  High  Street,  Tuesday,  Thurs- 
day, and  Saturday,  and  departs  same  day.  Beith  and  Saltcoats  — 
At  Daniel  Wright's,  High  Street,  on  Monday  and  Thursday,  at  10 
o'clock,  and  departs  at  half-past  3  o'clock  the  same  day.  Busby  — 
At  John  Muir's,  foot  of  New  Street,  weekly.  Dairy  —  At  James 
Currie's,  head  of  Dyer's  Wynd,  on  Tuesday,  between  10  and  11 
forenoon,  for  Glasgow  ;  returns  from  Glasgow  on  Wednesday  be- 
tween 2  and  3  afternoon ;  departs  for  Dairy  same  day.  Edin- 
burgh —  From  John  Campbell's,  New  Smithhills,  on  Tuesday,  and 
returns  on  Saturday.  Glasgoiu  —  From  James  Shearer's,  West 
Street;  xAdam  M'Cargow's,  Smithhills;  Robert  Aitken's,  Well- 
meadow  ;  John  Taylor's,  Gauze  Street ;  William  Burnside's,  Abbey 
Close,  between  12  and  i  o'clock  afternoon,  daily;  arrives  at  James 
Currie's  at  half- past  4  o'clock  afternoon,  and  departs  at  half- past  7. 
Greenock  and  Port- Glasgow  —  From  John  Russell's,  Causeyside, 
on  Monday,  Wednesday,  and  Friday,  at  11  o'clock  forenoon ; 
returns  on  Tuesday,  Thursday,  and  Saturday,  at  4  o'clock  after- 
noon. Housto7i  —  At  Robert  Rowan's,  New  Street,  on  Thursday, 
at  10  o'clock.  Johnstone  —  At  Peter  Ferguson's,  High  Street,  daily. 
Innne  —  At  Robert  Rowan's,  New  Street,  on  Monday  and  Friday, 
and  departs  on  Tuesday  and  Saturday  ;  and  at  Mrs.  Wilson's, 
vintner.  High  Street,  on  Tuesday  and  Friday  at  8  o'clock  morning, 
and  departs  on  Wednesday  at  3  afternoon  and  Saturday  at  6  morn- 
ing. Kilbaj'chan  —  At  Robert  Rowan's,  New  Street,  at  i  o'clock, 
and  departs  at  6  afternoon ;  and  at  Mrs.  Wilson's,  vintner.  High 
Street,  daily.  Kilbirtiie  —  At  James  Currie's,  on  Tuesday  and 
Saturday,  from  10  till  3  o'clock.  Kilmarnock  and  Steivarton  — 
From  Hugh  Whyte's,  Causeyside,  on  Tuesday  and  Friday ;  returns 
on  Wednesday  and  Saturdaj'-.  Kihvinning —  At  Robert  Rowan's, 
New  Street,  on  Tuesday  and  Thursday ;  departs  Wednesday  and 
Friday.  Largs  —  At  D.  Buchanan's,  St.  George's  Inn,  Moss  Street, 
on  Tuesday,  and  departs  on  Wednesday.  Lochiuinnoch  —  At 
George  Murray's,  Salutation  Inn,  High  Street,  on  Tuesday,  Wed- 
nesday, Thursday,  and  Saturday,  at  11  o'clock,  and  departs  same 
day  at  3  afternoon  ;  and  at  Mrs.  Wilson's,  on  Monday,  Wednesday, 
and  Friday.  Mauchlinc  —  At  Robert  Rowan's,  New  Street,  once 
every  fourteen  days.  Neilston  —  At  Daniel  Wright's,  High  Street, 
on  Thursday  ;  and  at  John  Muir's,  foot  of  New  Street,  on  Thursday 
and  Friday.  Nciumills  —  At  Robert  Rowan's  on  Tuesday,  and 
departs  on  Wednesday,  Saltcoats  —  At  Robert  Rowan's,  on  Mon- 
day and  Tuesday,  and  departs  on  Thursday  and  Friday.  Saltcoats 
and  Strcenston  ■ —  At  Alexander  Alexander's,  Wellmeadow  Street, 
Tuesday  and  Friday,  and  departs  on  ^^''ednesday  and  Saturday 
(Gilrofs  Directory,  181  2,  p.  76). 


150  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

In  the  early  part  of  this  century  a  Humane  Society  was  estab- 
Hshed  ;  and  we  find  the  Council,  on  an  application  from  the  preses, 
the  Rev.  Mr.  Ferrier,  consenting  to  "  accommodate  them  with 
ground  at  the  Slate  Quay  for  the  temporary  lodgment  of  one  of 
their  boats."  In  18 12  the  president  was  William  Garble;  the  secre- 
tary, Robert  M'Kechnie  ;  the  treasurer,  David  Wallace  ;  and  there 
were  besides  thirteen  directors.  A  boat,  with  instruments  for  saving 
those  in  danger  of  drowning,  was  stationed  at  the  Brick -Kilns,  at 
Slate  Quay,  and  at  High  Linn ;  and  each  was  under  the  manage- 
ment of  from  seven  to  ten  persons  who  resided  in  these  locahties. 
There  were  also  medical  apparatus  at  the  Town's  Hospital,  at  the 
House  of  Recovery,  and  at  the  shop  of  Gavin  Browning,  druggist, 
Gross  (Gilroy's  Directory  for  181 2). 

Sometime  after  1823,  and  prior  to  1835,  this  useful  society  ceased 
to  exist ;  and  on  2nd  April  in  the  latter  year  a  public  meeting  of  the 
inhabitants  was  held  in  the  Gourt  Hall,  for  considering  the  great 
necessity  there  was  for  establishing  a  Humane  Society.  The  meet- 
ing agreed  to  raise  subscriptions  for  procuring  boats  and  other 
necessary  apparatus  for  the  preservation  of  human  life  and  searching 
for  bodies  in  cases  of  drowning.  Besides  a  committee  to  collect 
subscriptions,  a  working  committee  was  also  appointed.  In  Sep- 
tember, 1836,  the  society  petitioned  the  Gouncil  for  money  m 
in  addition  to  the  ;^5  formerly  subscribed,  as  the  implements  that 
had  been  bought  were  in  a  state  of  disrepair.  The  Gouncil  de- 
clined to  give  any  more  money,  but  some  of  the  members  promised 
to  subscribe.  In  the  following  year,  Mr.  Hastie,  M. P., gave  £,\o; 
and  although  this  liberality  helped  to  infuse  new  life  into  the  society, 
yet  it  did  not  continue  for  any  length  of  time. 

Paisley,  in  this  period,  appears  to  have  been  well  provided  with 
teachers.  In  181 2,  there  were,  in  addition  to  those  in  the  town's 
schools,  the  following  private  teachers  :  —  John  Barbour,  Garriage- 
hill ;  George  Barr,  Storie  Street ;  John  Begg,  Seedhills ;  Peter 
Gunningham,  teacher  of  mathematics.  Love  Street ;  Monsieur 
Despreaux,  French  teacher,  New  Street ;  James  Drummond,  Moss 
Street ;  James  Fergus,  Abbey  Street ;  J.  Forrester,  teacher  of 
mathematics,  &c..  Gauze  Street;  Archd.  Galbreath,  West  Brae; 
John  Gemmel,  New  Sneddon  Street ;  G.  Gilroy,  Gross ;  James 
Goldie,  High  Street ;  John  Millar,  Brown's  Lane  ;  WilHam  Mont- 
gomerie,  Gross  Street ;  William  Porteous,  teacher  of  drawing, 
Incle  Street ;  John  Taylor,  Abbey  Glose ;  Thomas  Taylor,  Old 
Sneddon  Street ;  Alex.  Tajdor,  Gauze  Street ;  Misses  Twigg,  Gauze 
Street ;  and  John  Young,  Broomlands.  The  poor  children  in  the 
Town's  Hospital  were  taught  by  Thomas  Grichton. 

The  Magistrates  reported  to  the  Council  on  19th  May,  181 2,  that 
this  was  the  period  when  the  town -officers  and  town -drummer 
usually  received  new  uniform  dresses.  The  Gouncil  agreed  that 
such  should  be  given  to  three  of  them,  and  the  Magistrates  were 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  151 

authorised  to  examine  the  quahty  of  the  cloth.  As  the  fourth  officer 
was  in  some  respects  a  pensioner  on  the  community,  a  renewal  of 
uniform  was  not  necessary  in  his  case.  They  also  "  voted  that 
Walter  Peacock,  town -drummer,  should  receive  breeches,  vest,  and 
hat."  "  It  having  been  remarked  that  the  officers  and  drummer 
have  of  late  years  often  appeared  in  their  official  capacity  without 
their  uniform  dress,  it  was  recommended  to  the  Magistrates  to 
insist  in  their  instructions  that  they  be  attended  to  in  future ;  and 
the  names  be  reported  to  the  Council  of  those  who  fail  to  pay 
respect  to  their  orders  in  this  particular."  The  town -officers  have 
down  to  the  present  time  received  suits  of  uniform  from  the  Town 
Council.  There  is  now  no  town -drummer,  and  even  the  town- 
bellman  is  seldom  heard, —  other  modes  of  giving  publicity  having 
superseded  them. 

Pubhc  whipping  through  the  streets,  and  exposure  on  the  tollbooth 
stairhead  or  on  the  pillory,  were  punishments  which,  as  we  have 
already  shown,  were  frequently  inflicted.  On  iSth  February,  181 2, 
Claud  Wilson,  weaver,  and  Andrew  Rowan,  tanner,  Paisley,  were  con- 
victed by  a  jury  of  stealing  a  quantity  of  oil  from  the  works  of  Mr. 
John  Bell,  jun..  Croft,  Paisley.  Sheriff  Campbell  sentenced  them 
"  to  be  taken  back  to  prison,  to  remain  there  till  5th  March  following, 
and  upon  that  day  to  be  carried  to  some  conspicuous  part  of  the 
public  street  at  or  near  the  Market  Cross,  such  as  the  Magistrates  of 
Paisley  shall  appoint,  at  twelve  noon,  and  to  be  then  and  there  ex- 
posed to  the  public  on  the  pillory  for  the  full  space  of  one  hour, 
with  their  hands  fastened  behind  them,  and  with  an  inscription  hung 
upon  the  breast  of  each  bearing  in  large  and  legible  printed  or 
painted  characters  the  word  '  Thief,'  and  afterwards  banished  from 
the  county  during  their  lifetime  ;  with  certification  that,  if  they  re- 
turned, they  were  to  be  publicly  whipped  upon  the  outer  stairhead 
of  the  tollbooth,  each  receiving  100  stripes."  The  Magistrates  of 
Paisley  were  ordained  to  see  this  sentence  carried  into  effect.  A 
curious  case  arose  out  of  this  decision.  The  Magistrates  objected 
to  carry  the  sentence  into  effect,  and  appealed  to  the  Lords  of 
Justiciary  to  be  relieved  from  doing  so,  on  the  ground  that  the 
Sheriff  should  carry  out  his  own  decree,  as  the  theft  was  committed 
without  the  burgh,  and  "  as  they  were  not  disposed  to  undertake 
the  degrading  office."  They  besides  held  that,  if  they  were  "  to 
superintend  the  pillory  scene,  it  follows  of  course  that  they  must 
direct  the  flogging  should  the  delinquents  return,  and  employ  the 
executioner  and  defray  all  expenses.  The  erection  of  a  scaffold  will 
alone  cost  a  good  many  pounds,  besides  gratuities  to  guards,  <S:c. 
It  were  recognising  an  inferiority  which  the  Magistrates  are  not  in- 
chned  to  acknowledge."  The  two  men  were,  however,  punished  in 
accordance  with  the  sentence  of  the  Court,  and  the  Magistrates  and 
Council,  by  the  decision  of  the  Lords  of  Justiciary,  had  to  carry  it 
out. 

On  the  1 6th  December,  1820,  an  atrocious  attempt  was  made  to 


153  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

shoot  Mr.  John  Orr,  jun.,  in  the  house  of  Mr.  William  Orr,  sen., 
Causeyside  Street.     On  that  evening  he  was  visiting  there ;   and 
being  informed  by  the  servant-girl  that  two  men  wished  to  speak  to 
him  at  the  door,  he  went  thither,  and  on  his  arrival  two  shots  were 
fired  in.     Two  pistol  bullets  passed  through  the  door  on  the  side 
where  it  opens,  and  went  into  the  plaster  :  and  would  have  passed 
through  Mr.  Orr  had  he  come  in  the  line  of  them  through  the  passage. 
Henry  M'Connell,  Owen  Callaghan,  Malcolm  Cameron,  and  Hugh 
Lafiferty,  cotton -spinners,  were  apprehended  and  tried  at  the  High 
Court  of  Justiciary  for  this  daring  offence.     Cameron,  for  about 
three  months  before  this,  had  been  seen  hanging  about  Mr.  Orr's 
cotton -work.   Underwood,   occasionally  getting  employment,   and 
had  been  working  for  the  two    days   previous   to   the   shooting. 
Lafferty  had  for  a  good  many  months  been  regularly  employed  by 
Mr.  Orr  as  a  spinner.     There  had  been  a  reduction  of  wages  by  the 
Paisley  manufacturers   in  April ;    the  men  therefore  struck  work 
about  August,  when  they  were  making  3s.  6d.  to  4s.  6d.  a-day,  in 
order  to  force  the  wages  up  to  the  old  standard.     Previously,  several 
shots  had  been  fired  at  Mr.  Orr,  one  of  which  struck  his  house. 
The  jury  gave  a  verdict  convicting  M'Connell  and  Cameron  as 
guilty,  and  Callaghan  as  art  and  part ;  and  declared  the  libel  not 
proven  against  Lafferty,  who  was  dismissed  from  the  bar.     The 
other  three  prisoners  were  adjudged  to  be  whipped  through  Paisley 
on  5th  April  following.     When  the  day  came  round  on  which  the 
three  men  were  to  be  whipped,  great  excitement  prevailed  in  the 
town.     The  Magistrates  being  fully  aware  that  the  novelty  of  the 
punishment  would  cause  consideralile  curiosity,  and  believing  that, 
as  it  was  the  Sacramental  Fast- Day  in  Glasgow,  many  people  would 
come  from  that  city,  they  took  every  precaution  to  prevent  tumult 
and  disorder.     A  proclamation  was  extensively  issued  in  which  they 
enjoined  parents  and  masters  to  keep  their  children  and  servants 
within  doors  during  the  whipping  in  case  of  accident,  stating  at  the 
same  time  that  they  did  not  apprehend  any  confusion,  as  few  would 
be  so  base  as  sympathise  with  hired  assassins.     Near  midday  the 
town  began  to  be  very  densely  thronged,  and  parties  of  the  3rd 
Dragoon  Guards  patrolled  the  streets.      About   one   o'clock  the 
Paisley  sharpshooters  and  a  company  of  cavalry  paraded  at  the 
jail.     Shortly  before  two  o'clock  the  prisoners  were  brought  out  at 
the  north  door  of  the  jail,  handcuffed,  with  their  coats  hanging  over 
their  backs.     They  were  bound  to  a  strong  plank  that  was  fastened 
on  the  hind  trams  of  a  cart.     The  dragoons,  aided  by  a  detachment 
of  the  41st  Regiment,  cleared  the  street  of  the  spectators,  and  the 
cavalcade  moved  forward.     The  military  preceded  the  horse  and 
cart,  which  was  followed  by  the  police  ;  then  came  the  local  and 
civil  authorities  and  a  party  of  infantry  —  a  few  dragoons  closing 
the  rear.     The  procession  crossed  the  Sneddon  Bridge,  went  up 
Lawn  Street  into  Smithhills  Street,  and  straight  on  till  they  came  to 
the  head  of  INIill  Street,  where  they  stopped.     The  infantry  formed 
a  line  along  the  footpath,  and  the  official  attendants  formed  a  line 


l8oO   TILL    1825.  153 

on  each  side  about  twelve  feet  behind  the  cart,  and  a  few  dragoons 
kept  back  the  crowd.  By  this  arrangement,  which  was  repeated 
at  every  place  where  the  prisoners  were  whipped,  the  spectators 
behind  and  those  on  each  side  saw  the  infliction  of  the  whipping. 
Cameron  was  first  stripped.  When  his  shirt  was  turned  over 
his  head  upon  his  arms,  the  Glasgow  executioner  flourished 
a  large  cat- o'- nine -tails,  and  laid  it  smartly  on  the  delinquent's 
shoulders.  At  Mill  Street  each  of  the  three  prisoners  received 
fifteen  lashes.  Their  shirts  and  hats  were  then  put  on,  and 
the  horse  and  cart  moved  slowly  forward  to  the  head  of 
New  Street,  where  the  culprits  received  another  series  of  fifteen 
lashes  each.  They  were  punished  next  at  the  Cross,  afterwards  at 
the  foot  of  Moss  Street,  and  they  suffered  the  last  infliction  at  the 
entrance  to  the  jail  next  New  Sneddon  Street.  They  thus  each 
received  seventy- five  lashes.  Cameron,  after  the  first  stroke,  stood 
firm  to  the  repeated  lashes  ;  the  other  two  shrank  frequently ;  but 
not  a  single  cry  nor  expression  of  pain  escaped  from  any  of  the 
prisoners  during  their  punishment.  When  they  returned  to  the  Jail 
they  thanked  God  that  the  whipping  was  over  ;  and  Dr.  Thomson 
proceeded  immediately  to  dress  their  backs.  The  streets  were  un- 
commonly crowded,  the  shops  were  all  shut,  the  doors  and  upper 
windows,  closes,  and  cross -lanes  were  filled  to  excess  with  spectators, 
and  an  immense  multitude  preceded  and  followed  the  procession. 
No  exclamation  indicating  disapprobation  of  the  executors  of  the 
law  or  pity  for  the  prisoners  was  made  by  the  numerous  spectators. 
Everything  being  done  with  great  regularity,  no  accident  happened. 
The  military  were  dismissed  when  the  prisoners  were  lodged  in  jail, 
the  shops  were  opened,  business  went  on  as  usual,  and  by  six  o'clock 
most  of  the  strangers  had  left  the  town. 

About  three  years  afterwards,  another  man  was  whipped  in  the 
streets  of  Paisley  for  the  commission  of  a  crime  arising  also  out  of 
the  dangerous  combination  among  the  cotton -spinners.  Bernard 
Shirkin  and  John  Morrison,  cotton -spinners,  Bridge  of  Weir, 
attacked  William  Kerr,  cotton-spinner  there,  on  the  evening  of  the 
25th  November,  1823,  when  returning  from  his  work  to  his  own 
house  in  that  village.  While  he  was  ascending  the  stair  leading  to 
his  own  house,  they  discharged  a  loaded  pistol  at  him,  and  he  was 
severely  wounded.  His  life  was  at  first  despaired  of,  and  he  was 
long  confined  to  bed.  The  two  men  were  tried  at  Paisley  before 
Sheriff  Dunlop  and  a  special  jury  on  25th  May,  1824.  It  appeared 
in  the  course  of  the  proceedings  that  the  attempt  to  murder  Kerr 
arose  out  of  the  fact  that  he  had  agreed  to  work  as  a  cotton -spinner 
upon  the  wheels  of  another  man  whom  his  masters  had  thought  fit 
to  discharge,  while  an  illegal  and  dangerous  combination  of  work- 
men resolved  his  situation  should  not  be  occupied  by  another.  The 
prisoners  were  found  guilty,  and  sentenced  to  be  confined  in  the 
bridewell  of  Paisley  at  hard  labour;  Morrison  for  eighteen,  and 
Shirkin  for  twelve  months,  and  afterwards  banished  from  the  County 
of  Renfrew  for  life.     Morrison  was  further  to  be  scourged  through 

L 


154  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

the  streets  of  Paisley,  on  Thursday,  the  first  of  July,  being  the 
market-day,  and  to  receive  six  dozen  stripes  on  his  naked  body  at 
the  hands  of  the  common  hangman.  On  that  day  Morrison  was 
brought  out  of  the  jail  at  twelve  o'clock,  and  was  bound  to  a  cart 
which  moved  round  to  the  front  of  the  building,  where  the  punish- 
ment commenced.  Instead  of  the  common  executioner  an  old 
sailor  was  selected,  who  seemed  in  every  way  qualified  for  the 
disagreeable  office.  His  face  was  so  besmeared  with  black,  white, 
and  red  paint,  that  he  could  not  have  been  recognised  by  his  most 
intimate  acquaintances.  At  every  lash  he  carefully  separated  the 
tails,  and  measured  his  distance  with  the  most  careful  and  cautious 
precision.  Morrison  received  in  all  seventy-two  lashes, —  fifteen  in 
front  of  the  Jail ;  fifteen  at  the  Cross  ;  the  same  number  at  Lone- 
wells  ;  at  the  head  of  New  Street ;  and  lastly  twelve  at  the  Cross 
on  the  return  of  the  procession.  The  seventh  lash  made  him  cry, 
but  during  the  rest  he  was  silent.  The  punishment  was  concluded 
at  a  quarter  past  one  o'clock.  Sheriff  Campbell  and  the  INIagistrates 
were  attended  by  a  number  of  the  special  constables  and  police, 
and  the  streets  were  kept  clear  by  two  troops  of  the  Enniskillen 
dragoons  that  were  brought  from  Glasgow.  All  the  shops  were  shut 
and  business  stopped  along  the  line  by  which  the  procession  passed. 
Although  there  was  a  heavy  fall  of  rain  at  the  time,  the  crowds  of 
people  in  the  streets  were  immense,  and  the  windows  were  filled 
with  spectators.  No  person  manifested  publicly  the  least  sympathy 
for  the  culprit.  On  the  contrary,  such  was  the  general  abhorrence 
of  the  crime  for  which  he  was  punished,  that  exclamations  were 
occasionally  heard  to  the  effect,  "  He  well  deserves  it  all." 

The  subject  of  the  assumption  by  the  senior  Bailie  of  the  title  of 
Provost  was  frequently  considered  by  the  Council.  On  23rd 
September,  1811,  Bailie  Jamieson  moved,  "that  on  account  of  the 
respectability  and  augmented  population  of  the  town,  he  considered 
it  highly  expedient  that  the  burgh  should  have  a  Provost,  as 
authorised  by  the  Charter  of  Erection,  but  which  title  he  understood 
had  never  been  assumed,"  but  they  agreed  to  discuss  the  motion 
at  next  Michaelmas  Head  Court.  At  that  meeting  they  agreed  to 
take  the  opinion  of  counsel,  and  authorised  a  memorial  to  be 
prepared  for  that  purpose.  The  counsel  consulted  were  Mr. 
Thomas  Thomson,  advocate,  and  Mr.  John  Dunlop,  advocate. 
The  opinions  received  were  very  similar.  Mr.  Dunlop's  was  as 
follows: — "Having  considered  this  case,  I  am  of  opinion  that  the 
Town  Council  of  the  Burgh  of  Paisley  are  legally  entitled  to  confer 
on  their  Chief  Magistrate  the  name  of  Provost,  instead  of  eldest 
Bailie,  under  which  he  has  been  hitherto  elected.  It  is  clear  from 
the  terms  of  the  charters  produced,  that  the  power  and  faculty  of 
choosing  the  Chief  INIagistrate  by  the  designation  of  Provost,  was 
bestowed  by  the  granters  and  intended  by  them  to  be  enjoyed  by 
the  predecessors  of  the  memorialists.  The  only  question  therefore 
that  remains,  is  whether  this  privilege  has  been  lost,  non  utendi,  in 


l8oO    TILT,    1825.  155 

such  a  manner  that  it  cannot  be  now  exercised.  The  right  does 
not  appear  from  its  nature  to  be  one  capable  of  falhng  under  any 
species  of  negative  prescription.  It  seems  to  be  a  power  which 
may  be  exercised  or  not  at  pleasure,  as  its  assumption  can  make  no 
alteration  in  the  internal  constitution  of  the  burgh,  nor  in  any  sliape 
affect  the  rights  and  privileges  of  others.  Such  being  the  case,  I  am 
not  aware  that  the  exercise  of  this  power  can  be  attended  with  any 
risk  or  damage  to  the  Magistrates  and  burgh,  or  that  any  individual 
or  public  body  is  entitled  to  object  to  its  adoption.     (Signed)  John 

DUNLOP." 

Hitherto  the  Bailies  did  not  possess  any  distinctive  badge  for 
wearing  when  on  duty.  This  matter  was  brought  under  the  notice 
of  the  Council  on  22nd  October,  181 1,  when  they  were  of  opinion 
"  that  it  was  now  highly  befitting  the  respectability  of  the  town  and 
necessary  for  maintaining  the  dignity  and  distinction  of  office,  that 
gold  chains  as  now  universally  worn  by  the  Magistrates  of  other 
towns  of  note  in  the  country,  should  also  be  procured  at  the 
community's  expense  for  the  Magistrates  of  this  burgh  ;  but  previous 
to  coming  to  any  decision,"  they  appointed  a  committee  to  make 
inquiry  as  to  the  expense  and  to  report.  On  the  first  of  the 
following  month  the  Council  unanimously  agreed  that  gold  chains 
should  be  procured  without  delay,  and  authorised  the  Magistrates  to 
receive  estimates  of  the  expense.  On  the  9th  November  following, 
the  Magistrates  "  reported  that,  after  considering  the  different 
estimates  of  tradesmen  in  Glasgow  and  Paisley  for  furnishing  gold 
chains,"  they  had  "contracted  with  Mr.  Hannay,  jeweller  in  Paisley, 
whose  offer  was  much  the  cheapest,  and  who  had  undertaken  to 
furnish  them  of  the  best  guinea  gold,  and  executed  in  a  handsome 
and  suitable  style."  The  cost  of  the  gold  chains  with  the  accom- 
panying badge  for  the  Provost,  and  the  same  for  each  of  the  three 
Bailies,  was  ^116  2s.  6d.  The  badges  were  all  alike,  but  there 
was  an  extra  loop  of  gold  chain  attached  to  the  Provost's.  By  the 
Burgh  Act  of  1833,  the  number  of  Bailies  was  increased  from 
three  to  four,  and  the  youngest  Bailie  was  without  a  gold  chain 
and  badge  like  the  other  Bailies.  The  Council  did  not  remedy  this 
defect;  but  at  a  meeting  of  Council  held  on  14th  October,  1869, 
there  appeared  a  deputation  from  a  number  of  gentlemen  belonging 
to  Paisley,  who  —  from  a  desire  to  provide  the  corporation  with  a 
gold  chain  and  medal  with  which  to  invest  the  youngest  Bailie  when 
in  office,  and  from  the  respect  entertained  towards  Bailie  Watson, 
the  then  youngest  Bailie  —  had,  from  subscriptions  raised,  pur- 
chased a  gold  chain  and  medal  similar  to  the  chains  worn  by  the 
other  Bailies,  with  this  exception,  that  the  year  "  1869  "  was  engraved 
on  it.  The  gift  was  presented  by  Mr.  P.  C.  Macgregor;  and 
Provost  Macfarlane,  after  accepting  it  on  behalf  of  the  corporation, 
moved  that  the  thanks  of  the  Council  be  voted  to  the  subscribers. 
Thereafter  Bailie  Watson  was  invested  with  the  chain.  Bailie 
Watson  was  the  proprietor  and  editor  of  the  Paisley  Herald  news- 
paper.    In  June,  1881,  the  Council  agreed  to  procure  a  new  chain 


156  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

and  badge  for  the  Provost ;  and  at  a  meeting  of  Council  held  on 
the  forenoon  of  the  30th  January,  1882,  before  joining  the  procession 
at  the  opening  of  the  Geo.  A.  Clark  Town  Hall,  he  was  invested 
with  it.^  On  this  occasion  Provost  MacKean  explained  "  that  for 
many  years  it  had  been  complained  that  the  Chief  Magistrate  of  the 
town  had  not  insignia  worthy  of  his  office.  It  was  all  very  good 
when  lying  in  a  drawer,  but  when  displayed  it  was  a  very  small 
affair.  At  other  municipal  gatherings,  and  especially  in  London, 
the  Provost  of  Paisley  was  thrown  entirely  into  the  shade  by  the 
insignia  of  office  displayed  by  other  Chief  Magistrates,  so  much  so 
that  he  was  fain  to  take  off  his  and  put  it  in  his  pocket."  The 
Treasurer,  who  had  no  insignia  of  office,  was  invested  with  the 
Provost's  old  chain  thus  condemned  by  Provost  MacKean.  Trea- 
surer Clark  said  no  chain  worn  by  any  of  the  Magistrates  was  so 
much  valued  as  the  one  he  then  had  got  to  wear. 

On  i2th  September,  1812,  the  Council  resolved  "that  at  the 
ensuing  election  the  title  of  Provost  should,  in  terms  and  under  the 
sanction  and  authority  of  the  Charter  of  Erection  of  the  Burgh,  be 
assumed  by  the  eldest  Bailie  in  addition  to  the  present  title  and 
appellation."  On  5th  October  following,  "'the  old  and  new  Council 
being  met  together,  they  elected  and  appointed  Mr.  John  Orr  to  be 
Provost  and  eldest  Bailie."  At  this  election  the  Council,  in  terms 
of  a  resolution  of  28th  September  j^reviously,  elected  a  fourth  Bailie. 
The  reasons  assigned  for  doing  so  were  these  : — "  The  title  of 
Provost  being  assumed  by  the  Senior  Magistrate,  and  from  a 
consideration  of  the  augmented  population  of  the  burgh,  and  the 
laborious  and  multitudinous  duties  which  had  now  to  be  discharged 
by  the  Magistrates  from  the  establishment  of  the  police  and 
numerous  other  sources,"  and  because  "  they  held  it  to  be  conform- 
able to  precedent  and  agreeable  to  the  terms  of  the  Charter  of 
Erection." 

A  very  singular  occurrence  took  place  at  the  election  of  Coun- 
cillors and  Magistrates  in  181 9.  Mr.  John  Muir,  who  had  been 
elected  junior  Magistrate,  declined  to  accept  of  office,  and  the 
Council  found  him  liable  in  the  penalty  of  ^20,  as  prescribed  by 
Acts  of  Council  already  mentioned.  Orders  were  given  for  recovery 
of  this  sum,  and  for  debiting  the  Town  Treasurer  with  the  same 
(Council Reco7-ds,  4th  October,  181 9).  It  does  not  appear  that  this 
sum  was  ever  recovered.  On  6th  December  in  that  year,  the 
Council  records  state  that  a  letter  from  Mr.  Martin,  writer,  on  behalf 
of  Mr.  John  Muir,  relative  to  the  fine  for  non-acceptance  of  the 
office  of  Magistrate,  having  been  read,  the  consideration  of  it  was 
deferred  till  next  meeting.  On  26th  June,  1821,  the  Clerk  was 
directed  to  search  for  precedents  of  measures  adopted  in  cases 
where  Councillors  elected  refused  to  accept  of  office  and  to  report. 
On  2 1  st  August  following,  the  Clerk  stated  that  he  had  searched 
the  records  for  precedents  for  fining  those  who  declined  acceptance 

^  The  new  chain  and  badge  cost  ;i^i33  los. 


l8oO    TILL    1S25.  157 

of  the  office  of  Councillor,  but  had  not  found  any  applicable  to  the 
cases  of  those  who  had  previously  acted  in  that  situation.  Fining 
for  this  particular  offence  is  not  further  adverted  to. 

On  the  occasion  of  George  IV.'s  visit  to  Edinburgh  in  August, 
1822,  the  Council  voted  an  address  to  His  Majesty,  "expressing 
the  feelings  of  pride  and  exultation  which  are  experienced  from  your 
Royal  consideration  in  visiting  our  ancient  kingdom  of  Scotland,  a 
portion  of  your  Majesty's  dominions  which  cannot  fail  to  call  many 
pleasing  recollections  to  your  Majesty's  mind,  and  still  distinguished 
for  loyalty  and  regard  for  the  august  house  from  which  your  Majesty 
descends."  The  Magistrates  were  authorised  to  present  this  address  to 
His  Majesty  at  Edinburgh.  On  30th  August  following,  "  the  Provost 
(Wm.  CarJile)  reported  that  he  and  other  Magistrates  had,  in  pursuance 
of  the  appointment  of  last  meeting,  proceeded  to  Edinburgh  for  the 
purpose  of  representing  the  community  on  occasion  of  His  Majesty's 
visit  to  Scotland,  and  with  that  view  had  secured  lodgings  in  Queen 
Street,  which  they  occupied  for  twelve  days  during  their  residence 
in  town.  That  they  had  retained  a  coach,  upon  which  the  town's 
arms  had  been  elegantly  painted.  That  they  had  considered  it 
necessary  to  employ  four  horses,  and  to  procure  liveries  of  scarlet 
cloth  with  blue  facings,  the  proper  and  admitted  uniform  of  the 
burgh  officers,  for  the  postilions  and  for  two  of  the  town's  officers 
and  a  valet  who  accompanied  them.  That  they  had  attended  His 
Majesty's  levee,  when  they  had  been  received  in  the  most  gracious 
manner,  and  had  the  honour  of  kissing  hands  when  the  Provost 
had  presented  to  the  King  in  person  the  loyal  address  voted  at  last 
meeting.  That  on  the  night  appointed  for  a  general  illumination, 
the  windows  of  their  lodgings  had  been  lighted  with  wax  candles. 
That  they  had  been  highly  gratified  by  their  mission  on  the  occasion; 
and  with  due  regard  to  economy,  on  account  of  the  limited  nature 
of  the  burgh  funds,  had  omitted  nothing  which  appeared  to  be 
essentially  necessary  on  their  part  as  representatives  of  a  respectable 
community.  The  Provost  also  stated  that  as  a  member  he  had  the 
honour  of  attending  His  Majesty  when  the  address  of  the  General 
Assembly  of  the  Church  of  Scotland  was  presented."  At  a  meeting 
of  Council  held  on  28th  September  following,  it  was  "unanimously 
voted  by  the  Members  of  Council  that  the  thanks  of  the  community 
were  deservedly  due  to  the  Provost  and  other  Magistrates  for  pro- 
ceeding to  Edinburgh  on  occasion  of  His  Majesty's  visit  to  Scotland, 
and  representing  the  corporation  in  respectable  style, —  to  which 
the  Provost,  for  himself  and  in  name  of  his  colleagues  in  office, 
made  a  suitable  acknowledgment.  And  the  Council  were  of  opinion 
that  the  swords  worn  by  the  Magistrates  on  that  occasion  should 
be  retained  by  them  until  required  for  some  public  occurrence  here- 
after." The  total  expenses  connected  with  this  visit  to  Edinburgh 
amounted  to  ^205  3s.  yd. 

In  the  creating  of  honorary  burgesses  the  Council  continued  to 


158  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

adhere  to  the  custom  latterly  adopted  of  limiting  considerably  the 
exercise  of  their  ancient  prerogative.  On  23rd  January,  1807,  they 
authorised  the  Magistrates  to  order  a  plate  with  a  suitable  inscription 
and  devices  for  printing  tickets  to  be  given  to  persons  who  may 
thereafter  enter  as  burgesses.  On  22nd  October,  181 1,  the  Council 
"  voted  the  freedom  of  the  burgh  to  Edward  Earl,  Esq.,  Chairman 
of  the  Board  of  Customs  for  Scotland,  on  account  of  his  exertions 
in  promoting  various  works  of  high  interest  and  utility  to  the  country, 
and  appointed  an  appropriate  ticket  to  be  transmitted  to  him."  On 
7th  February,  181 2,  they  agreed  that  in  all  instances  which  may 
hereafter  occur,  the  fine  or  penalty  known  by  the  name  of  the 
"Stallinger  fine,"  shall  not  be  less  than  £^\  is.,  nor  more  than 
j[^2  2S.,  and  that  the  same  shall  be  required  once  every  year  from 
those  who  resist  or  neglect  to  enter  as  freemen  after  being  warned 
in  the  usual  manner  to  do  so,  and  be  recovered  by  action  in  the 
ordinary  way.  On  6th  June,  181 2,  the  Council  conferred  the 
freedom  of  the  town  on  Captain  Kenneth  Snodgrass,  of  the  52nd 
regiment,  son  of  the  late  Rev.  Dr.  Snodgrass,  minister  of  the  Middle 
Church,  Paisley.^  On  28th  September,  1814,  the  Magistrates  and 
Council,  from  considerations  of  personal  deserts  and  meritorious 
conduct  as  an  officer,  conferred  the  freedom  of  the  burgh  on  Captain 
John  Orr,  of  His  Majesty's  7th  Regiment  of  Foot.  On  2nd 
October,  181 5,  the  Council  voted  the  freedom  of  the  burgh  to  John 
Connell,  Esq.,  advocate.  His  Majesty's  Sherift"- Depute  of  the  County 
of  Renfrew,  and  Alexander  Campbell,  Esq.,  Sheriff- Substitute,  as  a 
tribute  of  respect  most  deservedly  due  for  unremitting  diligence  in 
the  discharge  of  their  official  duties,  and  more  particularly  for  the 
incessant  exertions  recently  manifested  by  them  in  the  adoption  of 
measures  for  obtaining  legislative  authority  for  the  erection  and 
maintenance  of  a  bridewell,  jail,  court-house,  and  public  ofiices,  for 
the  Burgh  of  Paisley  and  County  of  Renfrew.-  In  August,  1816, 
Mr.  William  Barr,  writer,  wrote  to  the  Council  as  follows  : — "  In 

^  In  May,  1814,  this  gallant  soldier,  who  had  been  raised  to  the  rank  of 
lieutenant -colonel,  was  presented  with  a  handsome  sword  of  the  value  of  a 
hundred  guineas,  purchased  from  Messrs.  Rundell,  Bridges,  &  Rundell,  London. 
The  subscriptions  for  raising  money  to  obtain  the  sword  \\ere  restricted  to  half  a 
guinea,  and  a  sufficient  sum  was  immediately  got  with  almost  no  trouble. 
The  sword  was  presented  to  Col.  Snodgrass  at  a  public  dinner  in  the  Renfrew- 
shire Tontine,  Paisley.  The  Earl  of  Glasgow  occupied  the  chair,  and  Mr. 
Campbell  of  Blythswood  acted  as  croupier.  Mr.  Speirs,  M.P.,  and  other 
subscribers,  to  the  number  of  150,  were  present.  The  following  inscription  was 
beautifully  executed  on  the  blade  : — "To  Lieutenant -Colonel  Snodgrass.  This 
sabre  is  presented  by  his  townsmen  of  Paisley,  joined  by  several  noblemen  and 
gentlemen  in  the  vicinity,  as  an  expression  of  high  esteem  for  his  character,  and 
admiration  of  his  distinguished  services  in  the  cause  of  his  country  and  her  allies." 
(Reverse)  "St.  Sebastian  taken  by  storm,  31st  August,  1813." 

*  When  Sheriff  Connell  was  afterwards  appointed  Judge  Admiral  of  Scotland, 
the  Council,  on  5th  August,  1816,  transmitted  an  address  to  him,  congi-atulating 
him  upon  his  honourable  and  well -merited  promotion,  and  expressing  their 
highest  ajiprobation  of  his  public  conduct  for  upwards  of  twenty  years,  during 
which  period  he  discharged  the  duties  of  first  judge  in  the  county. 


l8oo    TILL    1825.  159 

behalf  of  Mr.  Nicolson  of  Carnock,  I  am  to  request  that  you  will 
be  pleased  to  elect  his  father,  Sir  Michael  Stewart,  and  himself, 
burgesses  of  Paisley.  This  has  no  reference  to  any  recent  matter,^ 
but  arises  from  a  wish  to  patronise  the  town  in  the  immediate 
neighbourhood  of  the  residence  of  their  ancestors.  I  will  pay  the 
fees."  The  Council  elected  them  both  honorary  freemen  of  the 
burgh,  and  authorised  the  Provost  to  transmit  to  them  admission 
tickets  certified  in  the  usual  way.  On  30th  April,  1S19,  the  Council, 
in  compliance  with  sentiments  expressed  by  some  very  respectable 
burgesses,  ordained  that  in  future  "dissenters  entering  as  freemen  and 
burgesses  shall  not  be  required  to  take  and  subscribe  any  burgess 
oath  whatever.'"'  At  a  meeting  of  the  elders  and  deacons  of  the  two 
congregations  of  the  Secession  of  Paisley,  held  on  6th  May,  it  was 
agreed  to  forward  a  letter  to  the  Council,  expressing  their  "  cordial 
thanks  for  the  liberal  and  reasonable  measure  they  have  thus 
adopted." 

From  an  early  period  Paisley  had  been  comparatively  well 
supplied  with  stage  coaches,  which  gave  numerous  opportunities  for 
travelling  to  different  parts  of  the  country.  The  first  notice  we  have 
been  able  to  discover  of  a  stage  coach  connected  with  this  town, 
was  on  13th  July,  1780,  when  Mrs.  Graham,  the  tenant  of  the 
Saracen's  Head  Inn,  intimated  that  the  "  Paisley  and  Glasgow  Fly, 
made  to  hold  six  persons  with  ease,  will  set  out  from  the  Saracen's 
Head  Inn,  Paisley,  on  Friday  first,  a  quarter  before  nine  o'clock  in 
the  morning,  and  continue  to  run  to  Glasgow  at  the  same  hour  every 
Monday,  Tuesday,  Wednesday,  and  Friday,  and  will  set  out  on  her 
return  every  evening  at  a  quarter  after  six  o'clock  from  Mr.  Durie's,  at 
the  sign  of  the  Swan,  nearly  opposite  to  Hutchison's  Hospital, 
Trongate.  On  Thursdays  and  Saturdays  she  will  set  out  from 
Paisley  a  quarter  of  an  hour  before  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning  and 
a  quarter  before  five  in  the  evening,  and  from  Glasgow  a  quarter 
before  ten  in  the  morning  and  a  quarter  before  seven  in  the  evening; 
the  proprietors  to  be  answerable  for  no  bundles,  parcels,  &c.,  above 
the  sum  of  ;^5,  and  not  for  those  under  unless  they  are  marked  in 
the  way-bill  and  paid  for  accordingly.  And  as  the  price  of  the 
ticket  will  be  for  some  time  only  one  shilling  sterling,  they  humbly 
hope  for  the  encouragement  of  the  public."  On  27th  June,  1782, 
Alexander  Ewing,  vintner,  at  the  Saracen's  Head  Inn,  Greenock, 
advertised  "  to  run  a  diligence  from  Greenock  to  Mrs.  Graham's, 
Paisley,  every  lawful  day,  and  to  commence  on  first  July,  at  eight 
o'clock,  and  to  leave  at  the  same  hour.  The  fare  to  be  four 
shillings."  On  4th  December,  1783,  Thomas  Durie,  Swan  Inn, 
Glasgow,  and  Joseph  Ritter,  Abercorn  Arms,  Paisley,  advertised  a 
coach,  carrying  six  passengers,  to  leave  Glasgow  for  Paisley  at  nine 
o'clock  morning,  and  a  coach  from  Paisley  at  ten  o'clock  for  Glasgow, 

^  This  alludes  to  the  successful  action  by  Sir  Michael  in  preventing  the  Council 
from  selling  a  life  -  rent  superiority. 


l6o  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

and  returns  to  Paisley  at  five  o'clock,  and  from  Paisley  at  six  o'clock, 
every  lawful  day.  On  3rd  March,  1785,  John  Gibb,  vintner, 
Paisley,  advertised  that  he  would  continue  to  run  every  day  his 
coach  from  Paisley  to  Glasgow  six  times  a  day  (Wednesdays 
excepted).  The  fare  must  have  continued  at  is.  down  to  29th 
September,  for  the  proprietors  then  intimate  that,  "  on  account  of 
the  additional  taxes  and  heavy  turnpikes,  the  fare  is  raised  to 
IS.  2d."  In  November,  1788,  further  changes  were  made  in  the 
hours  for  departing  and  arriving.  The  fare  was  is.  6d. ;  and  the 
journey  between  the  two  towns  was  performed  in  an  hour  and 
quarter.  On  ist  June,  1791,  a  coach  was  advertised  to  run  from 
Glasgow  to  Ayr,  by  Paisley,  Beith,  and  Irvine,  on  Mondays, 
Wednesdays,  and  Fridays,  starting  from  Glasgow  and  Ayr  at  nine 
o'clock  morning.  The  fare  is  not  stated.  In  181 2  the  coach  fare 
between  Paisley  and  Glasgow  was  raised  to  2s.  inside  and  is. 
outside.  In  181 2  five  coaches  were  run  from  Glasgow  to  Greenock 
daily,  by  Paisley  (Gilroy's  Paisley  Directory,  181 2).  The  fare 
inside  was  8s.,  and  outside  6s.  In  September,  181 8,  a  coach  ran 
between  Paisley  and  Kilmarnock  three  times  a  week,  via  Barrhead, 
Neilston,  Dunlop,  Stewarton,  and  Kilmaurs.  The  fare  between 
Paisley  and  Kilmarnock  was  7s.  6d.  inside  and  5s.  outside.  On 
22nd  June,  1820,  a  coach  commenced  to  run  between  Paisley  and 
Kilmarnock,  by  Beith,  three  times  each  week,- — the  fare  inside 
being  8s.,  and  outside  5s.  6d.  In  1820  the  number  of  coaches 
between  Paisley  and  Glasgow  had  increased  to  nine  each  day  ;  and 
on  Monday  morning  a  coach  started  at  four  o'clock  for  the  accom- 
modation of  the  fleshers  attending  the  Glasgow  market.  The 
intercourse  between  the  two  towns  still  continued  rapidly  to 
increase ;  and  four  years  afterwards,  the  arrivals  and  departures  of 
conveyances  rose  to  the  astonishing  number  of  thirty-two  every  day, 
with  additional  coaches  on  Wednesdays.  Competition  brought  the 
fares  down  to  is.  6d.  inside,  and  for  the  basket  and  outside  is.^ 

While  the  County  Buildings  were  being  erected,  the  Council  had 
under  their  consideration  the  formation  of  a  street  from  these  build- 
ings to  the  Cross.  The  subject  came  before  them  on  6th  January, 
1 816,  when  they  were  of  opinion  that  the  plan  No.  i,  prepared  by 
orders  of  the  Commissioners  under  the  Prison  Act,  "  was  much  the 
most  suitable,  and  likely  to  prove  the  most  advantageous,  inasmuch 
as  it  will  give  opportunity  for  opening  the  long- projected  and 
anxiously-wished  street  through  Dyers'  Wynd  to  the  Sneddon,  and 
afford  direct  communication  from  the  Cross  to  the  intended  public 
buildings."     To  further  the  making  of  this  new  street,  the  Council 

^  At  this  time  the  Sheriff,  Provost,  and  Magistrates  of  Paisley,  and  the  Justices 
of  the  County,  were,  in  consequence  of  numerous  complaints,  under  the  necessity 
of  issuini^  a  proclamation,  which  states  that  "  the  drivers  of  stage  coaches  are 
carrying  greater  numbers  of  passengers,  and  a  greater  quantity  of  luggage,  than 
the  statute  prescribes;  and  that  furious  or  incautious  driving  of  these  coaches,  to 
the  danger  and  alarm  of  the  lieges,  is  almost  daily  complained  of." 


l800    TILL    1825.  161 

agreed  to  give  the  property  on  the  north  side  of  Dyers'  Wynd  to  the 
Commissioners,  who  undertook  in  return  for  the  same  to  put  the 
community  in  possession  of  such  portion  of  the  ground  dehneated 
on  this  plan  as  belongs  to  Messrs.  Muir,  Reid,  &  Speir. 

When  the  charter  of  the  East  India  Company  was  about  to 
expire,  a  numerous  and  influential  meeting  of  merchants,  manufac- 
turers, and  other  inhabitants  of  the  town  was  held  on  31st  March, 

181 2.  Mr.  Herbert  Buchanan  presided.  Spirited  resolutions  were 
carried  calling  upon  the  Legislature  to  adopt  efficient  measures  for 
the  relief  of  manufactures  and  commerce,  then  so  much  depressed 
in  the  district ;  and  at  the  termination  of  their  charter  to  discontinue 
the  monopoly  held  by  the  East  India  Company,  as  such  a  course 
would  be  highly  advantageous  to  the  commercial  interests  of  the 
country.  The  meeting  agreed  that  the  Earl  of  Glasgow  should  pre- 
sent the  petition  to  the  House  of  Lords,  and  Mr.  Speirs,  M.P.,  to 
the  House  of  Commons,  and  "  to  support  it  with  their  utmost  exer- 
tions." On  the  28th  January  in  the  following  year,  the  Council  also 
transmitted  a  petition  to  both  Houses  of  Parliament,  praying  that 
British  subjects  may  enjoy  the  privilege  of  trading  to  every  country 
in  the  East  free  from  any  control  on  the  part  of  the  East  India 
Company. 

In  181 2  and  the  year  following,  a  series  of  "  Paisley  Assemblies  " 
was  advertised  in  the  Glasgow  newspapers,  to  be  held  in  the  Ren- 
frewshire Tontine,  Paisley.  Tickets,  as  was  always  stated,  "  were 
to  be  drawn  at  nine  o'clock."     At  the  assembly  held  on  i6th  April, 

1813,  it  was  advertised  "there  will  be  a  dancing  assembly  in  the 
Renfrewshire  Tontine  for  the  benefit  of  the  Paisley  Benevolent 
Society."  In  1816  and  181 7  there  were  also  what  were  called 
"  Winter  Assemblies."  Mr.  John  Birkmyre,  a  young  student  of 
divinity,  under  the  nom  de  pi  nine  of  "  Matthew  Bramble,  "  published 
in  the  latter  year  two  short  pamphlets  against  them,  with  the  title  — 
"  Hints  to  the  Young  Ladies  of  Paisley  on  the  Winter  Assemblies." 
As  regards  payment  of  the  ladies'  tickets  of  admission,  he  stated  — 
"  Many  may  recollect  that  during  the  course  of  last  winter  several 
balls  were  given  on  a  new  plan  for  the  accommodation  of  our  young 
ladies  and  gentlemen.  It  would  perhaps  be  more  correct  to  say  for 
the  accommodation  of  the  gentlemen;  for  the  ladies,  contrary  to  the 
old  and  long -established  custom,  purchased  their  own  tickets,  and 
went  to  the  ball-room  to  procure  gallants,  which  they  would  find  no 
very  difficult  task  providing  they  were  tolerably  handsome  and  the 
gentlemen  pretty  numerous.  Thus  passed  our  first  season."  But 
he  admitted  that  in  the  second  season  the  gentlemen  did  "  not  per- 
mit the  young  ladies  to  be  anything  out  of  pocket,  but  generously 
provided  them  in  the  increased  price  of  their  own  tickets."  He 
stated  also  "  that  it  is  a  notorious  fact  that  ladies  have  been  allowed 
to  depart  unattended  from  the  rooms,  at  the  hour  of  two  in  the 
morning,  to  grope  their  way  homewards  amidst  the  welcome  shades 


I  62  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

of  darkness,  which  concealed  their  blushes."  William  Motherwell, 
the  poet,  in  a  pamphlet,  under  the  name  of  "  Ephraim  Muckle- 
wrath,"  and  in  another,  under  the  name  of  "  Peter  Plain,"  replied 
to  Mr.  Birkmyre  in  a  very  able  manner,  showing  that  his  allegations 
were  founded  in  error. 

In  February,  1814,  Thomas  Cochrane,  tenth  Earl  of  Dundonald, 
was  accused  of  being  concerned  in  the  propagation  for  interested 
purposes  of  a  false  report  of  Napoleon's  abdication,  which  caused  a 
great  rise  in  the  Funds.  He  was  tried  on  this  charge,  and  found 
guilty  of  fraud  ;  and  was  sentenced  on  the  5th  of  July  to  stand  in 
the  pillory,  pay  a  fine  of  ;^iooo,  and  undergo  one  year's  imprison- 
ment. So  convinced  were  the  public  that  he  was  innocent,  and  the 
victim  of  party  feelings,  that  he  was  immediately  re-elected  to 
Parliament  for  Westminster.  Having  made  a  daring  escape  from 
prison  and  appeared  in  his  place  in  Parliament,  he  was  re-com- 
mitted, but  his  fine  was  paid  by  public  subscription.  In  Paisley, 
where  the  popular  sympathy  was  strongly  in  favour  of  Lord  Cochrane, 
a  number  of  the  inhabitants  in  meeting  assembled  appointed  a  com- 
mittee to  collect  subscriptions  in  aid  of  this  fund.  At  a  meeting  of 
that  committee  held  on  the  30th  November,  1816,  they  fully  con- 
curred in  the  resolutions  thus  formed  by  the  meeting  for  paying,  in 
the  first  place,  Lord  Dundonald's  fine  of  ;2£"ioo  —  the  residue  to  be 
applied  in  the  discharge  of  his  former  fine  of  ;^iooo,  and  the  ex- 
penses to  which  he  had  been  subjected  in  consequence  of  the 
various  prosecutions  that  had  been  raised  against  him ;  and  they 
resolved  "  that  a  subscription  be  immediately  commenced  in  Paisley 
to  assist  in  carrying  this  highly  laudable  object  into  effect."  We 
cannot  state,  however,  what  amount  of  money  was  obtained.^ 

Prior  to  1814  no  register  of  marriages  was  kept  in  the  town.  On 
7th  October  in  that  year  the  Council,  considering  the  inconvenience 
and  frequent  loss  and  disappointment  which  resulted  from  the  want 
of  correct  registers  of  marriage,  which  were  so  much  regarded  as 
evidence  in  courts  of  law  for  establishing  propinquity  and  patri- 
monial succession,  agreed  that  such  should  thereafter  be  kept  in  the 
different  parishes  in  the  town  by  the  session- clerks. 

At  a  public  meeting  held  in  June,  1815,  called  by  the  Magistrates, 
the  Paisley  Provident  Bank  was   established.      At  that  meeting, 

^  One  of  the  descendants  of  the  Dundonald  or  Cochrane  family,  who  during  a 
part  of  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries  owned  the  Lordship  of  Paisley, 
and  resided  at  the  Place  of  Paisley,  has  become  through  marriage  allied  to  the 
family  of  the  Earl  of  Glasgow.  On  2nd  December,  1880,  the  Hon.  T.  H.  A.  E. 
Cochrane,  second  son  of  Lord  Dundonald,  the  eleventh  Earl,  and  a  lieutenant 
in  the  Scots  Guards,  was  married  to  Lady  Gertrude  Boyle,  daughter  of  the  Earl 
of  Glasgow,  at  .St.  Mark's,  North  Audley  .Street,  London.  On  that  day  there 
were  great  rejoicings  at  Hawkhead,  Largs,  and  Millport;  and  at  night  there  was 
a  bonfire  on  Dykebar  hill. 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  163 

trustees,  committee  of  management,  and  cashier,  were  appointed  ; 
and  in  November  of  that  year  the  bank  was  opened  for  business. 
The  least  sum  received  was  one  shiUing,  and  no  interest  was  paid 
on  any  sum  less  than  j£,i  5s.  The  deposits  were  lodged  in  the 
Paisley  and  Union  Banks,  then  the  only  banks  in  the  town,  which 
at  first  generously  allowed  five  per  cent.,  and  thereby  gave  the  power 
to  the  directors  to  pay  four  per  cent,  to  the  depositors,  leaving  the 
one  per  cent,  and  interest  on  small  sums  to  be  applied  to  the 
management.  After  a  time  the  interest  to  the  depositors  fluctuated 
according  to  the  state  of  the  money  market,  but  they  always  received 
as  much  as  mercantile  men  got  in  other  banks.  The  amount  of 
money  deposited  never  amounted  to  a  large  sum.  In  1816, 
^^1192  ;  in  1818,  ^1312  ;  in  1820,  ^1677  ;  in  1822,  ^3193  ;  in 
1824,  ;^286i.  This  bank  was  given  up  when  the  National  Security 
Savings  Bank  was  established  in  1838. 

The  first  proposal  to  establish  a  National  Security  Savings  Bank 
in  Paisley,  was  made  at  a  meeting  held  on  loth  December,  1838,  in 
the  Saracen's  Head  Inn,  —  Sherift'  Campbell  in  the  chair,  —  when  it 
was  agreed  that  a  requisition  should  be  prepared  and  presented  to 
the  Provost,  requesting  him  to  call  a  public  meeting  of  all  who  were 
favourable  to  the  establishment  of  such  an  important  scheme.  This 
was  accordingly  done  ;  and  the  public  meeting  was  held  in  the  Court 
Hall  on  the  i6th  of  that  month,  when  it  was  agreed  that  such  a  bank 
should  be  established.  Three  days  afterwards,  a  meeting  was  held 
in  the  Saracen's  Head  Inn,  when  trustees  and  managers  were 
elected.  At  another  meeting,  Mr.  Archibald  Hodge,  accountant, 
was  appointed  the  first  cashier  and  actuary ;  and  the  bank  ofiice, 
which  was  at  No.  3  Christie's  Terrace,  was  opened  for  receiving 
deposits  of  money  on  the  14th  May,  1838.  The  rate  of  interest 
allowed  to  depositors  was  jQt^  6s.  8d.  The  periods  fixed  for 
receiving  deposits  were  : — Mondays,  from  nine  to  twelve  o'clock ; 
Thursdays,  from  twelve  to  three  o'clock ;  Saturdays,  from  one  to 
three  o'clock,  and  from  six  to  nine  evening.  Only  one  period 
weekly  was  given  for  paying  deposits,  and  that  was  on  Wednesdays 
from  twelve  to  three  o'clock.  And  the  bank  was  "  open  on  Fridays 
from  one  to  three  o'clock,  for  the  purpose  of  giving  information  to 
those  from  the  neighbourhood,  and  for  receiving  money  from  the 
receivers  in  the  country,  in  addition  to  the  other  days  for  receiving 
deposits."  In  1855  Mr.  Hodge  resigned,  having  been  appointed 
agent  in  Paisley  for  the  City  of  Glasgow  Bank.  Mr.  John  M'Gown, 
who  was  chosen  his  successor,  has  filled  the  situation  down  to  the 
present  time.  In  an  evil  hour  the  committee  of  management  lent 
the  funds  of  the  Savings  Bank  to  the  Western  Bank,  in  order  to 
obtain  a  higher  rate  of  interest ;  and  as  that  bank  suspended  pay- 
ments in  1857,  the  credit  of  the  Savings  Bank  was  considerably 
injured  in  the  sight  of  the  depositors,  but  they  sustained  no  loss. 
The  money  of  the  Savings  Bank  was  again  invested  with  the 
government  commissioners  for  the  reduction  of  the  national  debt ; 
and  after  a  time  confidence  was  thoroughly  restored. 


164  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

The  following  figures  give  us  a  view  of  the  wonderful  progress  of 
this  invaluable  institution,  which  was  established  to  encourage  habits 
of  economy  and  foresight  among  the  industrious  classes.     At  the 
year  ending  1838   the  amount  deposited  was  ;!^i5,774  (silver  and 
coppers  not  included) ;  in  1840,  ;,^27,204;  in  1845,  ;£/^6,']Z']  ;  in 
1850.^42,646;  in  1855,  ^58,999;  in  i860,  ^45,101;  in  1865, 
^64,170;    in    1870,    ^^96,846;    in    1875,    £'^A^S?>9)    i"    1880, 
^185,478;  in  1883,  ^^219,954. 

Number  of  accounts  open  year  ending  1882,       ...     7994 
New  accounts  during  year  1883,   ...  ...      1883 

Accounts  closed  during  1883,        ...  ...      1511 

Increase,...  ...  ...  372 


Accounts  open  year  ending  20th  November,  1883,     8366 

The  Penny  Banks  depositing  in  this  institution  number  twenty- 
four;  and  their  funds  have  increased  from  £22,2']  15s.  iid.  to 
^2408  4S.  3d. 

As  we  have  seen  in  a  former  period,  the  Council  failed  to  turn 
the  Ferguslie  and  Carriagehill  superiorities  to  the  pecuniary 
advantage  of  the  burgh.  The  second  attempt  of  the  same  kind, 
made  in  181 5,  was  equally  unsuccessful.  Not  profiting  by  experi- 
ence, but  being  anxious  to  improve  the  burgh  funds  by  converting 
the  superiority  of  the  burgh,  which  entitled  them  to  vote  for  a 
member  to  represent  the  shire  in  Parliament,  to  a  monetary  use, 
the  Council  agreed  to  sell,  for  ;^3oo,  to  Mr.  Alexander  of  Southbar, 
for  one  of  his  political  friends,  a  life-rent  disposition  of  as  much  of 
the  superiority  as  constituted  a  freehold  qualification.  The  expenses 
attending  the  sale,  estimated  to  cost  £12^,  were  to  be  paid  by  the 
])\ixch2i%tr  ( Council Jiccords,  17th  November,  1815).  Mr.  Alexander's 
friend  was  not  a  political  supporter  of  Sir  M.  S.  Stewart,  who,  along 
with  others  in  July  in  the  following  year,  applied  to  the  Court  of 
Session  for  a  bill  of  suspension  and  interdict  of  this  sale.  The 
Council  lodged  answers  to  these ;  and  the  Lord  Ordinary  having 
ordered  parties  to  prepare  and  print  memorials,  the  Council  on  23rd 
September  following,  "  resolved  that  the  action  should  be  resisted." 
In  the  meantime  a  number  of  the  feuars  requested  the  Provost  and 
Magistrates  to  call  a  public  meeting  to  consider  this  sale.  As  they 
declined  to  do  so,  the  requisitionists  and  others,  on  19th  July,  1816, 
held  a  public  meeting,  at  which  they  passed  strong  resolutions, 
holding  that  it  was  an  illegal  act  on  the  part  of  the  Council  to 
dispose  of  the  superiority.  At  another  meeting  of  the  feuars,  held 
on  the  29th  of  the  same  month,  they  again  denounced  this  sale,  and 
objected  to  the  entries  of  vassals  with  the  burgh  being  doubled. 
Then  followed  a  keenly  contested  law  suit  (with,  no  doubt,  the 
usual  replies  and  answers) ;  and  the  decision  of  the  court  was  not 
given  till  January,  1822,  when  it  was  intimated  to  the  Council  "that 
the  court  had  pronounced  unfavourably  to   the  community,  and 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  165 

found  them  liable  in  expenses."     On  5th  February  following,  "they 
agreed  to  acquiesce  in  the  decision.'"' 

The  illicit  distilling  of  whisky  was  carried  on  to  a  great  extent  at 
this  time  in  several  places  in  the  adjoining  districts,  and  the  officers 
of  excise  in  Paisley  had  a  busy  and  even  dangerous  time  in  detect- 
ing and  securing  the  smugglers.  In  January,  1816,  in  consequence 
of  information  received  that  illicit  distillation  abounded  in  the 
western  part  of  the  parish  of  Neilston  and  eastern  part  of  the  parish 
of  Beith,  the  Supervisor  of  Excise,  with  a  body  of  officers,  went  from 
Paisley  to  the  different  suspected  places,  and  after  great  exertions 
succeeded  in  destroying  four  iUicit  distilleries.  One  of  them  was  on 
a  large  scale,  the  still  being  of  copper,  and  capable  of  holding 
60  gallons.  From  the  resistance  made  by  the  smugglers,  the  excise 
officers  were  unable  to  secure  any  of  them.  But  nine  of  them  were 
afterwards  seized,  and  on  loth  April  convicted  before  a  bench  of 
Justices  in  Paisley,  and  amerced  in  fines  amounting  in  all  to  ^£210. 
The  Town  Council,  on  27th  February,  on  account  of  the  unpre- 
cedented extent  of  illicit  distillation  of  whisky,  agreed  to  petition 
the  Lords  Commissioners  of  the  Treasury  to  adopt  measures  to 
suppress  the  same,  in  order  to  secure  obedience  to  the  law  and  pro- 
tect the  fair  trader.  In  May,  1822,  there  were  three  large  stills  dis- 
covered on  the  farm  of  Nethercraigs,  two  of  which  were  at  work. 
There  were  three  men  and  a  boy  at  the  place,  but  they  all  escaped. 
In  July  following,  a  thirty-gallon  still  was  seized  in  Waulkmill  Glen, 
near  I3arrhead.  On  4th  February,  1824,  the  excise  officers  at 
Paisley,  headed  by  Mr.  Milligan,  supervisor,  discovered  in  Mearns 
Moor  an  illicit  distillery  at  work,  with  a  still  of  100  gallons.  Two 
of  the  smugglers  were  seized  and  lodged  in  Paisley  jail.  On  the 
nth  of  that  month,  the  same  party  of  officers  detected  at  work  at 
the  Bridge  of  EUiston  an  illicit  distillery,  which  had  been  carried  on 
for  a  considerable  time.  Three  of  the  smugglers  were  seized,  and 
afterwards  fined  in  ;^3o  ;  and  being  unable  to  pay  this  sum,  they 
were  committed  to  jail.  Three  days  after  that,  another  illicit  distil- 
lery was  seized  in  full  operation  at  Hagg  Mill,  near  Johnstone.  An 
old  man  only  was  found  at  this  distillery.  Notwithstanding  all 
these  detections  and  the  noise  made  regarding  them,  illicit  distilling 
continued.  On  9th  June,  Mr.  Milligan  and  the  excise  officers  in 
Paisley  found  in  Eaglesham  Moor  an  illicit  still  in  operation.  And 
four  days  thereafter,  the  same  officers  returned  to  these  moors  and 
found  two  distilleries  of  considerable  magnitude,  the  contents  of  one 
of  them  being  133  gallons,  along  with  two  mash  tuns  each  capable 
of  holding  250  gallons.  This  work  appeared  to  have  been  carried 
on  for  a  long  time.  In  other  parts  of  the  country  illicit  distillation 
was  practised  with  much  activity  and  daring.  To  give  one  speci- 
men. The  Excise  in  January,  1822,  seized  in  various  houses  in 
Gorbals,  Glasgow,  six  illicit  stills,  varying  in  size  from  25  to  60  gallons. 

In  1816,  stagnation  of  trade  again  prevailed  to  a  great  extent, 


I  66  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

and  many  operatives  were  thrown  out  of  employment.  On  5th 
October  in  that  year,  a  pubhc  meeting  was  held  in  the  Relief 
Church,  Canal  Street,  "  for  the  purpose  of  considering  the  distresses 
of  the  country,  their  causes  and  remedies,  and  the  propriety  of 
petitioning  His  Royal  Highness  the  Prince- Regent  thereon."  The 
meeting  was  addressed  at  great  length  by  Mr.  J.  Wilkinson,  Mr. 
Hastie  (who  was  chairman),  Mr.  M'Naught,  and  Mr.  J.  Beith,  in 
strong  language.  A  series  of  resolutions  was  unanimously  agreed 
to  with  much  enthusiasm  ;  and  as  they  breathe  in  an  unmistakable 
manner  the  political  and  social  feelings  and  opinions  of  the  working- 
classes  at  this  time  and  for  several  years  afterwards,  we  give  them 
at  length  : — 

ist.  "That  the  present  distress  of  the  agricultural,  the  commer- 
cial, and  manufacturing  interests  of  the  country  are  to  be  ascribed, 
not  to  a  transition  from  war  to  peace,  but  to  excessive  taxation, 
occasioned  by  an  enormous  debt,  useless  offices,  exorbitant  salaries 
for  nominal  services,  and  a  standing  army,  all  of  which  are  clearly 
deducible  from  that  unequal  and  insulting  representation  of  the 
people  in  Parliament  which  not  only  deprives  them  of  those  in- 
estimable benefits  which  are  natural  fruits  of  a  fair  representation, 
but  condemns  them  to  suffer  all  the  evils  which  inseparably  attend 
the  mischievous  legislation  of  a  House  of  Commons  not  represent- 
ing the  nation  ;  and  these  evils  having  been  accumulating  for  many 
years,  are  now  become  too  harrassing  and  degrading  to  be  longer 
endured,  without  being  incessantly  protested  against  and  as  un- 
ceasingly resisted  by  all  means  warranted  by  the  Constitution. 

2nd.  "  That  if  any  proof  were  wanting  of  the  impolitic,  partial, 
and  unjust  system  of  legislation  produced  by  the  present  mockery 
of  representation,  the  additional  Corn  Bill  lately  passed  affords 
ample  evidence.  It  was  passed,  despite  of  the  unanimous  disappro- 
bation of  the  people,  ostensibly  to  support  the  farmer ;  but  whether 
we  consider  its  objects  to  have  been  to  support  the  landed  interest 
in  order  to  have  their  support  in  the  property  tax,  or  to  buoy  up  the 
price  of  all  articles  of  taxation  and  consumption  in  order  to  be  able 
to  pay  the  fundholder  with  a  high  nominal  currency  —  to  produce 
a  steady  price  in  the  article  of  corn  —  it  appears  to  have  been  suc- 
cessful only  in  depressing  the  industrious  manufacturer  and  me- 
chanic, in  first  raising  the  price  of  the  staple  article  of  consumption 
at  home,  and  next  in  preventing  our  own  or  foreign  merchants  from 
bringing  us  the  surplus  produce  of  other  countries  in  return  for 
those  articles  by  the  manufacture  of  which  our  artizans  used  to  earn 
a  comfortable  livelihood. 

3rd.  "  That  from  the  present  corrupt  representation  of  the  people 
in  Parliament  hath  arisen  that  system  of  profusion,  under  the  name 
of  sinecures  and  rewards  for  public  services,  by  which  thousands 
wrung  from  the  hard  earnings  of  the  industrious  mechanic  and 
labourer  have  been  squandered  upon  men  wholly  unknown  to  the 
public  ;  or,  if  known  at  all,  remarkable  for  nothing  so  much  as  their 


l800    TILL    1825.  167 

hostility  to  the  inalienable  rights  of  man  and  their  execrable  in- 
trigues in  support  of  that  system  which  enables  them  to  riot  in 
luxury  at  the  expense  of  the  best  part  of  the  nation. 

4th.  "  That  to  the  same  cause,  viz.,  a  partial  and  corrupt  repre- 
sentation of  the  people  in  Parliament,  is  to  be  ascribed  those 
ruinous  wars  which  the  country  hath  lately  been  engaged  in,  by  the 
expense  of  which  the  resources  of  the  nation  have  been  so  far  anti- 
cipated that  forty-five  millions  of  pounds  sterling  are  but  barely 
adequate  to  pay  the  interest  erroneously  said  to  be  the  nation's,  the 
great  majority  of  the  people  having  never  given  their  sanction  either 
personally  or  by  their  representatives  to  the  mad  and  wicked  mea- 
sures which  created  it. 

5th.  "  That  the  cause  and  character  of  the  late  wars,  particularly 
that  which  commenced  in  1793,  is  no  small  aggravation  of  the  pre- 
sent distresses  of  the  country,  it  being  now  well  understood  to  have 
been  a  war  against  liberty  and  the  principles  which  seated  the  present 
family  upon  the  British  throne,  notwithstanding  the  many  proclama- 
tions of  the  high  allies  to  the  contrary  ;  and  if  there  were  any  doubts 
of  this  whilst  its  tremendous  tempest  was  raging  in  many  parts  of 
Europe,  they  must  now  be  wholly  dispelled  by  the  frightful  conse- 
quences of  its  disastrous  termination  —  the  restoration  of  His  Holi- 
ness the  Pope  to  his  abominable  dominion  over  the  bodies  and 
souls  of  men,  and  the  replacing  of  Louis  XVHI.  upon  the  throne 
of  France,  who  has  resumed  his  hereditary  prejudices  against  the 
Protestants  and  the  friends  of  liberty  ;  and  Ferdinand  upon  the 
throne  of  Spain,  to  the  abandonment  of  our  patriotic  allies  the 
Cortes. 

6th.  "That  a  standing  army  of  150,000  men  in  time  of  profound 
peace,  besides  being  wholly  unknown  to  the  Constitution  of  our 
country,  and  exposing  our  yet  remaining  liberties  to  the  most  im- 
minent peril,  contributes  mightily  to  that  excessive  and  grinding 
taxation  which  has  filled  the  land  with  pauperism  and  crimes  to  an 
extent  unparalleled  in  the  history  of  our  country,  and  which  no  lover 
of  the  true  greatness,  happiness,  and  lasting  freedom  of  the  nation 
can  contemplate  but  with  horror,  because  of  the  depth  and  extent 
of  the  ravages  which  they  have  already  made  among  the  working- 
classes  of  society,  together  with  the  appalling  consequences  which 
they  portend,  if  not  speedily  checked  by  an  immediate  abandon- 
ment of  that  profusion  in  the  national  expenditure  which  has  so  long 
and  so  deeply  stamped  the  policy  of  the  present  system,  and  by  the 
rights  of  the  people  being  secured  by  annual  parliaments  freely 
chosen  by  the  people. 

7th.  "  That,  considering  the  number,  power,  and  the  experience 
of  those  interested  in  the  continuation  of  the  abuses  of  which  we 
complain,  it  is  the  imperious  duty  of  every  lover  of  his  country  to 
come  forward  constitutionally  in  the  cause  of  justice  and  humanity, 
that  the  disasters  which  the  present  evils  threaten  to  bring  upon  the 
country  may  be  averted. 


l68  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

8th.  "  That  a  petition  be  presented  to  His  Royal  Highness  the 
Prince- Regent,  beseeching  him  to  take  into  his  most  serious  con- 
sideration the  sufferings  of  the  industrious  and  patient  people,  and 
praying  that  he  would  be  pleased  forthwith  to  cause  the  Parliament 
to  be  assembled,  and  to  recommend  to  them  the  absolute  necessity 
of  immediately  undoing  our  heavy  burdens  by  reducing  the  army, 
abolishing  all  sinecures,  pensions,  grants,  and  emoluments  not 
merited  by  public  services ;  to  introduce  into  every  department  of 
the  public  expenditure  the  most  rigid  economy  ;  and  to  listen  to  the 
repeated  prayers  of  the  people  for  being  restored  to  their  undoubted 
right  of  choosing  annually  their  own  representatives." 

Meetings  of  a  similar  kind  were  held  in  almost  every  town  and 
village  in  the  West  of  Scotland. 

Early  in  January,  1817,  a  public  fund  was  raised  for  the  relief  of 
the  unemployed;  and  the  Council,  on  the  7th  of  that  month,  "con- 
sidering the  present  necessitous  condition  of  the  labouring  and  in- 
dustrious classes  of  the  community,  voted  ^50  towards  the  public 
fund  now  raising  for  their  relief.'  A  public  meeting  of  the  inhabit- 
ants was  requested  to  be  held  on  the  20th  of  this  month,  in  a  field 
belonging  to  Mr.  James  M'Farlane,  to  the  east  of  the  Baker's  Mill, 
to  take  "into  consideration  the  propriety  of  petitioning  the  Legisla- 
ture upon  the  defective  state  of  the  representation."  For  some 
reason  which  is  not  explained,  the  meeting  was  held  in  the  East 
Relief  Church.  Mr.  Hastie  was  in  the  chair.  It  passed  no  fewer 
than  twenty-two  resolutions,  and  the  burden  of  all  of  them  was  that 
"  the  continued  and  increasing  calamities  of  the  times  arose  from 
the  want  of  a  proper  representation  of  the  people  in  Parliament,  and 
that  they  should  be  put  in  possession  of  their  undoubted  rights  — 
universal  suffrage  and  annual  Parliaments."  Another  meeting  was 
held  on  Saturday,  17th  July,  181 9,  on  Meikleriggs  Moor,  at  three 
o'clock,  to  consider  the  distress  of  the  country,  and  "  the  propriety 
of  petitioning  the  Prince- Regent  for  a  redress  of  grievances,  and 
remonstrating  against  a  continuance  of  those  measures  which  have 
brought  the  country  to  the  present  state  of  unparalleled  distress." 
The  day  being  uncommonly  fine,  the  meeting  was  numerously 
attended,  there  being  at  least  30,000  present  (History  of  Paisley, 
by  John  Parkhill,  p.  46).  Mr.  James  AUison  was  called  to  the 
chair.  The  committee  brought  forward  a  list  of  resolutions,  with 
the  object  of  petitioning  the  Prince -Regent  for  a  redress  of 
grievances,  but  these  were  negatived,  and  an  address  to  the  nation, 
proposed  by  Mr.  John  Neil,  was  adopted  instead,  —  the  Houses  of 
Parliament  being  thought  unworthy  to  receive  a  petition  which 
contended  for  universal  suffrage,  annual  parliaments,  and  vote  by 
ballot.  Eight  speeches  were  delivered  ;  and  at  the  close  votes  of 
thanks  were  accorded  to  Mr.  Cobbett,  Mr.  Wooler,  and  others,  after 
which  the  meeting  quietly  dismissed,  marching  off  at  the  sound  of 
the  bugle. 


l8oO    TILL    1825.  169 

On  the  22nd  July,  the  Council  having  again  under  their  consider- 
ation "  the  prevailing  distress  of  many  of  the  operatives  in  town, 
by  reason  of  non- employment,  representations  of  which  had  been 
made  from  various  quarters,   were  unanimously    of  opinion  that 
immediate  relief,  by  some  mode,  was  imperiously  requisite."     They 
agreed  to  follow  the  course  adopted  by  the   Abbey  heritors,  viz.,  to 
empower  the  kirk -sessions  of  the  two  parishes  to  advance  ;^ioo 
for  relief  of  the  distressed  and  unemployed  operatives,  after  due 
enquiry  into  their  circumstances,  until  some  further  source  of  aid 
should  be  devised.     At  the  same  time  an  extra  assessment  was 
authorised  to  be  raised  for  the  parochial  poor.     At  a  meeting  of 
Council  held  on  28th  August,   the  Provost  reported  that  he  had, 
since  last  meeting  of  Council,  received  a  letter  from  Mr.  Campbell 
of  Blythswood,  enclosing  a  list  of  the  subscriptions  for  the  rehef  of 
the  numerous  operatives  in  this  manufacturing  district  presently  out 
of    employment,   and    requesting    the    community's   subscription. 
That  he  had  acknowledged  receipt  of  that  letter,  and  stated  his 
humble  apprehension  that  the  community  had  been  already  suffi- 
ciently exemplary  in  their  efforts  to  relieve  the  unemployed  opera- 
tives.    That  at  an  early  period  of  the  prevailing  distress  they  had 
cheerfully  voted  ^100  to  be  at  the  disposal  of  the  members  of  the 
general  kirk -session  of  the  town  ;  and  he  had  the  great  satisfaction 
of  knowing  that  the  greatest  part  of  that  sum  had  been  usefully 
appropriated.      That  for  several  weeks  past  the  community  had 
retained,  and  for  some  time  would  continue  to  keep  in  pay,  above 
forty  of  the  operatives,  in  improving  a  portion  of  their  moss  lands, 
at  the  rate  of  one  shilling  per  day  each,  an  allowance  which,  consider- 
ing the  inefficiency  of  those  employed,  and  the  limited  hours  of 
labour,  would  very  far  exceed  the  remuneration  if  executed  by 
persons  accustomed  to  such  work.     When,  therefore,   it  was  con- 
sidered that  for  labour  of  a  similar  or  any  other  kind  that  might  be 
furnished  any  of  the  very  respectable  subscribers,  the  one  half  of 
the  wages  advanced  was  to  be  defrayed  from  the  fund,  while  the 
community  of  Paisley  neither  solicited  nor  expected  indemnification 
of  any  kind,  he  was  hopeful  it  would  appear  that  the  community 
had  come  forward  as  liberally  as,   under  existing  circumstances, 
could  be  expected.     With  these  explanations  the  matter,  the  Provost 
reported,  had  been  satisfactorily  arranged  with  Mr.  Campbell. 

At  a  county  meeting,  held  on  20th  August,  181 9,  called  by 
requisition,  it  was  resolved  to  aid  in  relieving  the  distress  at  present 
experienced  by  a  considerable  proportion  of  the  operative  manufac- 
turers in  the  county.  A  large  sum  was  raised  at  the  meeting, — the 
Earl  of  Glasgow  heading  the  list  with  a  subscription  of  ;i^ioo. 

In  the  first  week  of  September,  a  placard  with  a  mourning  border 
was  circulated,  calling  a  meeting  of  the  inhabitants  of  Paisley  and 
vicinity,  to  be  held  on  Meikleriggs  moor,  to  consider  the  late  pro- 
ceedings at  Manchester.  In  consequence  of  the  inclemency  of  the 
weather,  the  holding  of  the  meeting  was  adjourned  till  the  nth 

M 


lyo  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

September.  Several  large  bodies  of  people,  however,  came  from 
Kilmarnock,  Kilbarchan,  Johnstone,  Dairy,  &c.,  to  attend  the 
meeting.  Several  of  these  parties  carried  flags,  with  the  usual 
devices  on  them ;  but  by  the  advice  of  some  persons  who  met  them 
outside  of  the  town,  they  were  furled  and  taken  down.  The  com- 
mittee adjourned  to  the  Unitarian  Chapel,  High  Street.  Mr. 
John  Wilson  gave  some  information  to  the  meeting  regarding  the 
starting  of  a  radical  reform  newspaper,  and  reported  that  Mr.  Lang 
had  offered  to  print  and  assist  in  editing  it.  Mr.  Lang  stated  that 
he  had  written  to  London  about  it  to  see  what  could  be  done  in 
that  quarter,  as  it  was  absolutely  necessary  to  have  a  newspaper  to 
advocate  the  cause  of  universal  suffrage. 

According  to  advertisement,  the  public  meeting  which  had  been 
adjourned  on  account  of  the  unfavourable  weather,  was  held  on 
Saturday,  the  nth  September,  on  Meikleriggs  moor.  As  the  day 
was  particularly  fine,  the  people  began  to  assemble  at  an  early  hour. 
The  Sheriff  and  Magistrates  of  Paisley  had  previously  published  a 
proclamation  prohibiting  the  appearance  of  any  flags ;  but  a  band 
of  about  two  or  three  hundred  persons  from  Glasgow  marched 
along  the  Cross  and  High  Street  to  the  place  of  meeting  with  their 
flags  flying.  Eight  flags  were  displayed  before  the  hustings  at  the 
place  of  meeting,  with  such  mottos  as  —  "  Justice,  liberty,"  "  Magna 
charta,"  "  Liberty,  civil  and  rehgious,"  "  Annual  parliaments," 
"  Abhor  the  inhuman  butcheries  at  Manchester,"  &c.,  &c.  A 
drapery  of  black  cloth,  from  four  to  five  feet  deep,  was  hung  in 
front  of  the  hustings ;  and  all  the  speakers  of  the  Paisley  committee, 
and  several  others,  were  dressed  in  mourning.  All  the  flags  were 
edged  with  black.  The  band  from  Neilston  came  into  the  field 
playing  "  Scots  wha  hae  wi'  Wallace  bled,"  and  other  national  airs. 
Mr.  Alexander  Taylor  ^  was  chosen  preses,  and  began  the  business 
of  the  meeting  by  enjoining  attention  and  good  order.  He  further 
stated  that  the  reformers  had  no  wish  for  disturbance  and  revolution, 
as  was  falsely  asserted  by  their  enemies ;  they  merely  wished  an 
end  put  to  all  unnecessary  places,  pensions,  and  sinecures,  and  a 
proper  share  in  the  legislature  of  their  country.  He  adverted  to 
the  inhuman  butchery  at  Manchester;  indeed  he  and  all  the 
speakers  were  particularly  vehement  and  declamatory  upon  this 

^  He  was  a  schoolmaster ;  and  although  not  connected  with  the  unions,  soon 
found  it  necessary  to  leave  this  country  for  America.  He  was  a  man  of  an 
excellent  character,  and  humane  and  gentle  in  his  disposition,  and  had  no  idea 
that  his  being  chainnan  of  a  meeting  would  make  him  liable  to  pains  and 
penalties.  In  Montreal  he  opened  a  public  stall,  and  sold  otT  all  the  books 
which  he  took  out  with  him.  He  afterwards  went  to  Quebec,  and  obtained  a 
situation  in  a  government  school.  On  returning  home  he  stayed  a  night  at  the 
town  of  Prince  William  Henry,  where  he  fell  in  with  a  soldier  whose  regiment 
was  quartered  at  Montreal,  and  with  him  spent  the  evening.  Next  morning  he 
was  amissing  ;  and  after  some  searching,  his  body  was  found  on  the  banks  of  the 
river.  It  was  found  he  had  been  murdered  and  also  robbed,  as  his  watch  and 
money  were  gone.  The  soldier  was  tried  for  robbery  and  murder,  and  convicted 
of  the  former,  and  sentenced  to  two  years'  imprisonment.  The  evidence  of 
murder  was  defective  (I^ife  of  Artlnti-  Sneddon,  p.  75). 


l800    TILL    1825.  171 

subject.  "Will  it  be  believed  by  posterity,"  said  one  of  the 
speakers,  "  that  a  peaceable  assembly  of  freeborn  Englishmen  were 
wantonly  murdered  in  open  day  !  Oh,  I  would  rather  see  the  bones 
of  all  my  kindred  whiten  in  the  sun,  and  have  my  carcase  thrown 
to  the  dogs,  than  that  such  an  event  should  pass  without  a  proper 
enquiry  and  punishment  upon  the  guilty  perpetrators.  This  is  no 
time  to  pause  between  two  opinions,  when  murder  and  massacre 
stalk  in  open  day ;  when  the  inhuman  magistrates  have  received  the 
thanks  of  those  who  gorge  their  bloated  carcases  with  the  blood  of 
the  artisan."  Another  speaker  observed  that  "  the  British  sword 
had  been  drawn  on  starving  men  and  fainting  women  ;  has  it  deso- 
lated every  country  in  the  world,  to  be  at  last  drawn  upon  ourselves? 
and  will  you  allow  your  brethren  to  be  murdered,  without  raising 
your  voice  against  the  infernal  deed  ?  No  !  sooner  shall  the  lake 
wash  Benlomond  from  its  elevated  site,  than  the  sons  of  Caledonia 
shall  be  silent ! "  x\n  orator  stated  that  '•  such  proceedings  clearly 
demonstrated  the  necessity  of  a  radical  reform.  If  the  Manchester 
magistrates  had  not  calculated  upon  the  applause  and  support  of 
the  borough  faction,  this  tragedy  never  would  have  been  acted." 
"  None  but  fiends,"  it  was  stated,  "  could  have  wished  the  slaughter 
of  men,  women,  and  children  ;  but  a  clergyman,  whose  duty  it  was 
to  pour  the  balm  of  peace  and  consolation  into  the  wounds,  had 
sanctioned  the  deeds,  and  imbued  his  hands  in  human  gore." 
Another  speaker  said,  "  the  pious  Sidmouth  has  sent  his  Reynolds, 
his  Richmonds,  and  his  Olivers,  through  the  country  to  ensnare  the 
people  and  excite  them  into  acts  of  treason  and  rebellion.  They 
have  suspended  the  constitution,  in  the  foolish  hope  of  putting  an 
end  to  pubUc  meetings ;  but  the  suspension  has  not  answered  the 
purpose  of  its  miscreant  authors.  Sooner  shall  the  waves  which 
wash  our  western  shore  cease  to  roll,  than  we  shall  forego  the 
right  of  assembling  together."  A  number  of  resolutions  deprecating 
the  conduct  of  the  Manchester  magistrates  were  passed ;  votes  of 
thanks  were  given  to  the  most  illustrious  radicals ;  Mr.  Peock  was 
thanked,  with  great  applause,  for  allowing  the  meeting  to  be  held  on 
Meikleriggs  moor.  A  vote  of  censure  was  passed  on  the  Glasgoiv 
Chrofiide  for  abusing  the  great  leaders  of  radical  reform,  and  for 
upholding  a  degrading  and  fallacious  plan  of  emigration.  Another 
resolution  carried  was,  "  that  as  the  contest  between  the  borough- 
mongers  and  the  people  is  of  vital  importance,  hence  it  becomes 
indispensably  necessary  that  the  people  use  every  means  in  their 
power  to  cut  off  the  resources  of  these  relentless  tyrants,  whereby 
they  may  be  expelled  from  their  usurped  authority,  and  the  people 
regain  their  legitimate  rights.  That  on  glancing  at  the  vast 
revenue  which  the  borough- mongers  derive  from  tea,  tobacco,  and 
spirituous  liquors,  we  conceive  it  to  be  our  duty  to  abstain  from  the 
use  of  these  articles  ourselves,  until  a  radical  reform  in  the 
Commons'  House  of  Parliament  be  obtained.  And  we  hereby 
strongly  recommend  to  all  reformers  to  adopt,  as  far  as  possible,  the 
same  measures.     That  Major  Cartwright,  Mr.  Hunt,  Sir  Francis 


172  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Burdett,  Sir  Charles  Wolsely,  Mr.  Wooler,  and  other  friends  of 
reform  in  London,  be  respectfully  invited  to  name  a  day  for  a 
general  meeting  of  reformers  throughout  the  whole  kingdom,  in 
order  that  the  above  resolution  be  adopted  and  carried  into  effect, 
whereby  it  will  become  a  truly  national  measure."  An  address  to 
Mr.  Hunt  was  produced  and  read,  and  carried  amidst  great  applause. 
After  a  speaker  from  the  east  side  of  Glasgow  had  spent  some  time 
in  making  severe  strictures  upon  the  duplicity  and  unfeeling  conduct 
of  the  clergy,  the  business  of  the  meeting  was  ended,  on  the  preses 
requiring  the  people  to  depart  with  regularity  and  good  order,  and 
to  go  peaceably  home.  About  the  middle  of  the  proceedings  a  cry 
of  "  the  hussars  "  arose,  when  the  people  fled  on  all  sides,  and  it  was 
with  some  difficulty  the  committee  could  get  them  rallied  and  order 
restored.  A  collection  was  made  when  the  people  were  retir- 
ing for  the  relief  of  the  Manchester  sufferers.  It  is  supposed 
there  were  from  fourteen  thousand  to  eighteen  thousand  people 
present. 

When  the  people  were  going  home,  those  from  the  west  with  their 
flags,  and  the  Neilston  band  of  music,  went  down  Storie  Street  in  a 
compact  body,  and  got  quietly  out  of  the  town ;  but  those  from 
Glasgow  were  not  so  fortunate.  The  special  constables  lined  both 
sides  of  High  Street,  with  the  civil  authorities  at  their  head.  The 
first  flag  was  seized  at  the  Cross,  a  scuffle  ensued,  and  the  public 
mind  being  in  a  state  of  the  greatest  agitation,  an  immense  crowd 
instantly  collected.  The  special  constables  did  their  utmost  to 
clear  the  streets,  but  the  crowd  continually  increased.  Stones  and 
other  missiles  were  thrown  with  violence ;  the  windows  of  the 
Council  Chamber  were  broken,  and  similar  outrages  were  committed 
in  other  parts  of  the  town.  Shortly  after  ten  o'clock  the  Riot  Act 
was  read  ;  and  the  mob  increasing,  the  cavalry  were  sent  for  at  eleven 
o'clock,  arriving  from  Glasgow  about  one  o'clock.  When  they 
appeared  the  people  gave  them  a  hearty  cheer  and  immediately 
dispersed.  Next  day  as  the  Magistrates  were  going  to  church  they 
were  insulted  by  the  populace,  and  one  of  the  most  active  of  the 
mob  was  seized  by  Bailie  Bowie,  who,  with  the  rest  of  the  Magis- 
trates, conducted  him  to  jail  before  proceeding  to  church.  During 
the  evening  of  Sunday,  gentlemen  were  generally  assailed  with 
stones  wherever  they  were  found.  About  a  dozen  of  the  panes  of 
glass  in  the  Coffee -Room  windows  were  broken,  and  gentlemen  were 
prevented  from  retiring  for  about  an  hour ;  but  the  cavalry  dispersed 
the  mob  without  using  their  swords.  The  prisoners  in  the  Police 
Office  attempted  to  force  their  way  out,  but  were  prevented  by  the 
night  watchmen,  who  were  brought  from  their  stations  to  guard 
them.  The  riot  became  serious  at  seven  o'clock.  The  Riot  Act 
was  read  three  times  before  nine  o'clock.  Many  windows  were 
broken,  along  with  all  the  lamps  in  Causeyside,  High  Street,  Storie 
Street,  Canal  Street,  George  Street,  and  Broomlands.  The  iron 
rails  at  the  Methodist  Chapel,  George  Street,  were  taken  out  of  the 
stone  work,  and  used  as  weapons  against  the  cavalry  and  special 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  173 

constables,  and  the  mob  charged  them  most  daringly  up  Storie 
Street.     All  was  quiet  by  one  in  the  morning. 

The  mob  began  again  to  assemble  about  eight  o'clock  on  ]\Ionday 
morning,  and  continued  to  increase  till  one  o'clock,  when  the  Riot  Act 
was  read,  and  the  cavalry  and  special  constables  endeavoured  to  clear 
the  streets.  Two  companies  of  the  Sothregiment  arrived  from  Glasgow 
at  three  o'clock,  piled  their  arms,  and  remained  in  readiness  at  the 
Cross.  In  the  meantime  the  Provost  and  the  Reform  Committee 
had  a  conference  at  the  Cross  ;  and  a  meeting  of  the  people  was 
held  afterwards  at  St.  James  Street,  where  about  six  or  eight  thousand 
assembled  in  a  minute  or  two  to  hear  the  report.  A  member  of  the 
Reform  Committee  said,  "  We  have  had  a  long  conversation  with 
the  Provost,  and  he  has  pledged  his  honour  that  every  person  who 
has  sustained  any  damage  in  the  late  outrages,  shall  have  ample 
justice  done  him ;  and  should  any  person  accuse  any  baton -man  of 
wanton  cruelty  in  the  discharge  of  his  duty,  the  affair  shall  have  a 
complete  and  candid  investigation;  and  if  the  baton -man  be  found 
guilty,  he  shall  be  brought  to  condign  punishment  though  he  were 
his  own  father.  You  must  now  disperse  immediately,  as  the  Provost 
is  determined  to  use  every  effort  to  keep  the  peace."  (Here  the  mob 
shouted,  "Who  first  broke  the  peace?"  "Restore  the  prisoners;" 
"  Restore  the  prisoners  without  bail ; "  "  Give  up  the  flags,"  &c.) 
"  Our  message  is  delivered  —  one  quarter  of  an  hour  only  is  allowed 
you  to  disperse  —  every  man's  fate  is  in  his  own  hand."  The  great 
body  of  the  people  still  continuing  in  the  streets,  the  military  were 
forced  to  interfere.  The  cavalry  and  special  constables  immediately 
scoured  the  streets,  and  dispersed  the  mob  in  all  directions.  At 
night  every  close  and  lane  were  searched  with  torches,  and  quietness 
was  completely  restored  by  midnight.  At  this  time  there  were  also 
radical  mob  riots  in  Glasgow. 

In  addition  to  the  foregoing  account  of  the  rioting  at  this  time, 
which  we  have  gathered  from  various  sources,  we  are  also  able  to  give 
the  official  report  by  the  head  of  the  police  department  in  Paisley. 
It  was  as  follows  : — 

"  Narrative  of  the  riots  in  Paisley,  September,  18 19,  by  James 
Brown,  superintendent  of  poHce,  Paisley.  A  meeting  was  advertised 
to  be  held  on  Meikleriggs  IMoor  upon  Saturday,  the  4th  September, 
for  the  purpose  of  taking  into  consideration  the  late  proceedings  at 
Manchester.  This  meeting  was  advertised  by  printed  bills  with 
black  edges,  which  were  posted  not  only  in  the  town  and  suburbs 
of  Paisley,  the  neighbouring  towns  and  villages,  but  in  Glasgow  and 
in  different  parts  of  Ayrshire.  On  the  4th  the  scaffold  or  (as  they 
call  it)  hustings  were  erected  in  the  moor,  but  owing  to  the  wetness 
of  the  day  the  meeting  did  not  take  place  ;  though  according  to  the 
statement  of  a  man  I  sent  to  the  place  on  purpose,  from  three 
hundred  to  four  hundred  people  did  arrive  at  the  place  of  meeting. 
About  the  2nd  or  3rd  instant,  public  report  stated  that  flags  were 
to  be  carried  by  people  from  different  parts  of  the  country,  and  that 


174  HISTORV  OF  PAISLEY. 

they  were  to  march  to  the  place  of  meeting  in  mihtary  order.  I 
have  reason  to  beHeve  Mr.  Sheriff  Campbell  sent  for  some  people 
connected  with  the  meeting,  and  enquired  if  such  was  the  fact. 
They  said  they  had  heard  so,  but  they  had  used  such  means  as  they 
imagined  would  prevent  any  such  useless  parades.  On  the  4th  a 
party  did  arrive,  but  the  Paisley  people  made  them  lay  the  flags 
aside.  The  Kilbarchan  people  had  a  committee  of  reformers 
walking  at  the  head  of  their  procession ;  and  it  seems  there  were  a 
number  of  committees  from  various  places,  for  it  became  necessary 
to  go  to  the  Unitarian  Meeting-house  in  High  Street,  to  have  room 
for  a  general  meeting  of  the  committees,  at  which  meeting  it  was 
agreed  to  postpone  the  public  meeting  till  the  nth  instant.  The 
flags  carried  into  Paisley  on  the  4th  were  four  in  number. 

"Saturday,  nth  September.  On  the  9th  instant,  the  Sheriff  and 
Magistrates  published  the  following  proclamation  : — 
"  *  Proclamation  by  the  Sheriff  of  Renfrewshire,  and  by  the  Provost 
and  Magistrates  of  Paisley. — Whereas  a  public  meeting  has 
been  called  by  certain  persons,  and  has  been  advertised  to  be 
held  at  Meikleriggs  Moor,  on  Saturday  first,  the  nth  current, 
for  the  purpose,  as  the  advertisements  bear,  of  "  taking  into 
consideration  the  late  proceedings  at  Manchester ; "  and 
whereas  credible  information  has  been  received  that  bands  of 
persons  from  various  quarters  (including  the  City  of  Glasgow) 
intend  to  parade  through  the  town  and  suburbs  of  Paisley,  in 
going  to  and  returning  from  the  said  meeting,  with  flags  bearing 
inscriptions  and  devices  of  a  political  and  inflammatory  nature, 
a  measure  unauthorised  and  illegal  in  itself,  as  well  as  unne- 
cessary for  the  avowed  object  of  the  said  public  meeting; 
therefore  the  Sheriff  and  Magistrates,  determined  as  far  as  in 
them  lies  to  prevent  the  peace  and  tranquillity  of  the  well- 
disposed  inhabitants  of  the  said  town  and  suburbs  from  being 
wantonly  disturbed  or  threatened,  and  their  feelings  insulted  by 
such  illegal  proceedings,  do  hereby  caution  all  well-disposed 
persons  against  joining  or  allowing  any  of  their  families  to  join 
in  such  parades  or  processions ;  and  certify  to  such  as  disre- 
garding this  proclamation,  shall  be  found  actors  or  art  and  part 
in  such  illegal  proceedings,  that  they  shall  be  made  responsible 
for  their  conduct.  — Paisley,  9th  September,  18 19.' 
"  This  proclamation  was  posted  in  Paisley  and  the  neighbourhood 
and  in  Glasgow,  on  the  9th  and  loth  September. 

"  The  meeting  at  Meikleriggs  Moor  was  to  take  place  on  the  nth 
instant,  at  two  o'clock ;  and  by  order  of  the  Magistracy  the  special 
constables  assembled  at  one  o'clock  in  the  Court  Hall.  Between 
one  and  two  o'clock  a  most  motley  group,  perhaps  to  the  number 
of  one  hundred,  came  from  Glasgow  with  flags,— the  one  having  an 
inscription  '  Justice  and  Liberty,'  the  other  '  R.  and  L.'  This 
despicable  rabble  had  more  the  appearance  of  the  inmates  of  jail 
and  bridewell  than  of  people  going  at  large.     When  they  came  in 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  175 

sight  of  the  IMagistracy  and  special  constables,  they  seemed  to 
hesitate  for  a  moment  as  if  doubtful  whether  they  should  proceed. 
They  hooked  each  other  by  the  arm  and  advanced  closely  linked 
together,  apparently  more  under  the  impulse  of  fear  than  of  courage. 
When  directly  opposite  the  Magistracy  and  constables  they  gave  a 
hurrah  and  waved  their  flags.  The  immense  mob  that  surrounded 
them  and  their  own  barbarous  appearance,  struck  the  peaceable 
inhabitants  with  a  kind  of  panic,  and  the  shopkeepers  instantly  shut 
up  their  shops.  After  them  passed  great  numbers  of  more  respectable 
persons,  though  of  shabby  appearance,  and  it  was  obvious  that  the 
desperadoes  with  tiags  were  sent  before  by  way  of  experiment.  The 
town  remained  tranquil  till  about  seven  o'clock  in  the  evening. 
About  seven  o'clock  the  same  flags  were  carried  back,  followed  by 
an  immense  crowd  of  people  in  marching  order,  as  well  as  along- 
side of  them,  —  the  High  Street  being  literally  crammed,  and  the 
desperadoes  with  such  accompaniment  had  acquired  a  greater 
degree  of  confidence.  Special  constables  had  been  placed  along 
the  pavement  on  both  sides  of  the  High  Street  as  far  as  the  Saracen's 
Head  Inn  door,^  to  prevent  the  multitude  from  stopping  and 
crowding  the  streets  and  the  square  opposite  the  jail.  When  the 
procession  reached  the  Saracens  Head  Inn,  the  flag -bearers  and 
those  around  them  gave  a  hurrah  and  waved  their  flags  in  the  most 
insulting  manner  almost  in  the  face  of  Provost  Jamieson.  The  flags 
were  then  seized  ;  but  such  was  the  confusion  which  occurred  by 
their  resistance  and  the  pressure  of  the  crowd,  that  the  bearers  of 
the  flags  made  their  escape.  After  the  flags  were  seized,  a  vast 
number  of  persons  who  had  been  at  the  meeting  passed  down  the 
High  Street  and  through  the  Cross  in  military  order  four  abreast. 
The  party  from  Neilston,  who  were  on  their  march  also  to  the  Cross 
with  their  flags  and  a  band  of  music,  hearing  the  fate  of  their 
brethren  of  Glasgow,  struck  off  from  the  main  street  down  Storie 
Street.  It  is  believed,  however,  that  the  difterent  parties  from  the 
country  did  go  away  speedily,  from  the  very  great  crowds  in  many  of 
the  streets  and  particularly  at  the  Cross,  for  their  appearance 
indicated  many  of  them  to  be  strangers. 

"  Between  seven  and  eight  o'clock,  Mr.  Burns  of  Gateside  came 
to  the  Police  Office  and  complained  that  he  had  been  knocked  down 
on  the  street  and  robbed  of  his  gold  watch,  chain,  and  seals.- 

^  At  this  time  the  entrance  to  this  inn  was  from  High  Street. 

"  The  Procurator-Fiscal  in  a  handbill,  of  which  the  following  is  a  copy,  offered 
a  reward  for  the  discovery  of  those  who  committed  this  violent  depredation  : — 
' '  Robbery.  Reward  of  20  guineas.  Whereas,  during  the  riot  in  Paisley 
which  h^ucceeded  the  public  meeting  of  Reformers  held  at  Meikleriggs  Moor,  on 
Saturday  last,  a  gentleman,  while  endeavouring  to  persuade  the  people  to  go 
quietly  to  their  houses,  was  knocked  down  once  and  again,  and  robbed  of  his 
gold  watch,  chain,  and  seals  ;  the  watch  is  horizontal,  caped  and  jewelled,  -with 
ruby  cylinder,  goes  in  the  time  of  winding  up,  maker's  name  Thomas  Johnston, 
Paisley  ;  these  are  offering  a  reward  of  twenty  guineas  for  such  information 
given,  within  one  month  of  this  date,  as  shall  lead  to  the  discovery  and  conviction 
of  the  perpetrators  or  any  of  them,  to  be  paid  by  the  Procurator-Fiscal  of  the 
County.     Paisley,  14th  September,  1819." 


176  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

"  From  this  time  the  streets  assumed  a  riotous  appearance,  and 
so  soon  as  it  grew  dark  hostilities  were  commenced.  Stones  were 
thrown  at  the  pohce  officers,  Council  Chamber  and  Court  Hall,  and 
many  of  the  windows  broken.  The  Magistrates  and  special  con- 
stables, previous  to  its  being  dark,  went  round  the  crowd  and 
advised  them  to  disperse,  but  in  vain.  After  it  was  dark  every 
constable  that  appeared  was  pelted  with  stones,  and  the  experiment 
was  tried  to  withdraw  the  constables  altogether  to  see  if  the  crowd 
would  disperse  of  their  own  accord.  Accordingly  they  were  taken 
to  the  large  room  of  the  Saracen's  Head  Inn,  but  the  same  riotous 
conduct  continued.  Stones  were  thrown  at  the  windows  of  the 
Court-House,  and,  as  before -mentioned,  when  any  of  them  took 
effect  by  breaking  a  window  the  crowd  instantly  gave  a  huzza. 
Between  nine  and  ten  o'clock  it  was  suggested  and  agreed  to  by  the 
Magistracy  that  the  constables  should  try  to  clear  the  streets.  This 
was  attempted,  but  ineffectually,  and  many  of  the  constables  were 
hurt  by  stones  from  the  crowd.  Perhaps  five  out  of  every  six  of  the 
constables  who  acted  with  any  courage  received  blows  from  stones 
thrown  from  among  the  mob,  and  some  of  them  were  carried  from 
the  street  in  a  state  of  insensibility.  This  scene  of  riot  continued 
till  half-past  10  o'clock,  when  it  became  necessary  to  read  the  Riot 
Act,  and  to  send  for  cavalry  from  Glasgow.  Mr  Sheriff  Campbell 
called  silence,  and  the  Riot  Act  was  read  by  Provost  Jamieson. 
The  cavalry  arrived  before  one  o'clock,  and  the  constables,  without 
their  assistance,  cleared  the  streets  by  three  o'clock  in  the  morning, 

"Sunday,  12th  September. — At  an  early  hour  on  Sunday 
morning,  crowds  collected  at  the  Cross ;  but  this  was  not  thought 
much  of,  as  anxiety  to  see  the  damage  done  to  the  windows  on 
the  preceding  night  was  thought  might  be  the  cause,  and  it 
was  thought  when  this  curiosity  was  satisfied  the  crowd  would 
disperse.  This,  however,  was  not  the  case,  as  such  was  the 
unusual  and  indecent  conduct  of  the  mob,  that  it  was  with 
difficulty  the  peaceably-disposed  inhabitants,  with  their  families, 
could  make  their  way  to  church  past  the  Cross.  When  the 
Magistrates  left  the  Council  Chamber  to  go  to  church,  as  they 
stepped  out  of  the  door,  they  met  with  a  huzza  from  the  crowd, 
and  as  they  turned  up  the  High  Street  they  were  hissed  by 
well-dressed  people,  and  when  they  turned  up  the  High  Church 
Brae  they  were  again  hissed.  In  the  afternoon,  they  were  again 
hissed  on  going  out  of  the  Chamber;  and  at  the  foot  of  High 
Church  Brae,  as  they  turned  up,  the  crowd  gave  a  huzza.  A  party, 
after  divine  service,  followed  Bailie  Bowie  to  his  own  house,  and 
hissed  him  all  the  way.  Towards  twilight,  an  alarming  crowd  had 
collected  at  the  Cross,  and  no  decent  person  passed  without  insult. 
Between  6  and  7  o'clock,  Mr.  Motherwell,  Sherift"- Clerk,  in  passing 
along  the  Old  Bridge,  was  violently  assaulted,  knocked  down,  and  so 
severely  treated  that  he  was  left  for  dead,  and  carried  into  a  house 
nearly  in  a  state  of  insensibility.  One  of  the  police  officers  (George 
Ritchie)  was  struck  a  severe  blow  with  a  stone,  about  the  kidneys, 


l8oO    TILL     1825.  177 

and  was  in  consequence  confined  for  several  days.  Mr.  John  Mann, 
collector  of  poor  funds  for  the  Abbey  Parish,  was  advised^by  a  young 
man  to  go  home,  for  if  he  remained  only  a  few  minutes  he  would 
repent  it.  It  had  been  agreed  on  that  no  special  constables  should 
be  called  out,  or  cavalry  make  their  appearance,  this  night  till  eight 
o'clock,  in  order  to  ascertain  whether  the  mob  would  go  away  of  their 
own  accord,  and  every  appearance  of  suspicion  on  the  part  of  the 
Magistrates  was  avoided,  lest  it  might  be  said  they,  by  their  pro- 
ceedings, had  provoked  the  crowd.  It  appears  from  what  was  said 
to  Mr.  Mann  and  the  after  procedure  of  the  mob,  that  a  systematic 
plan  had  been  laid.  Many  stones  were  thrown,  and  at  every  crash 
of  lamp  or  window  breaking  the  crowd  gave  a  shout.  Between  7 
and  8  o'clock,  a  whole  volley  of  stones  were  thrown,  at  the  Cross,  at 
the  Coffee -Room  windows,  and  a  grand  huzza  was  made  when  a 
mob  ran  off  from  the  Cross  to  Causeyside  Street,  and  they  instantly 
began  and  broke  every  lamp  in  their  way ;  and  proceeded  along 
several  streets,  stopping  now  and  then  and  breaking  windows  of 
such  persons  as  they  seem  to  have  previously  fixed  upon,  as  they 
were  heard  to  deliberate  several  times  where  they  were  to  go  next. 
Near  8  o'clock,  information  of  their  proceedings  was  given  at  the 
Police  Office,  and  that  they  were  coming  down  High  Street.  Bailies 
Valance  and  Bowie,  the  Superintendent  of  Police,  and  a  few  special 
constables  who  had  assembled  of  their  own  accord,  proceeded  to 
meet  them.  They  saw  their  approach  at  a  distance  by  the  ex- 
tinguishing of  the  lights.  The  Magistracy,  &c.,  were  in  time  to 
save  a  number  of  lamps  in  High  Street.  At  8  o'clock,  the  cavalry 
were  sent  for,  and  the  Riot  Act  was  read  by  Mr.  John  Wylie, 
Procurator-Fiscal,  by  order  and  in  the  presence  of  Bailie  Valance 
himself.  At  half-past  9  o'clock,  the  cavalry  and  special  constables 
began  to  clear  the  streets.  They  were  repeatedly  assailed  with 
stones  by  the  mob  in  different  parts  of  the  town.  This  evening  a 
great  deal  of  damage  was  done  to  public  lamps  and  windows  of 
dwelling-houses.  There  is  in  the  Police  Office  a  list  of  thirty-seven 
dwelhng.houses  in  which  windows  were  broken  this  night  and  some 
nights  after — the  greater  part  were  broken  this  night,  and  it  was 
ascertained  on  Thursday  that  the  number  of  lamps  broken  altogether 
was  258,  and  the  greater  part  of  them  were  also  broken  this  evening. 
The  railing  of  the  Methodist  Chapel  in  Storie  Street  was  broken  this 
evening,  and  many  pieces  of  it  were  brought  by  the  constables  to 
the  Police  Office,  some  of  which  they  picked  up  just  after  they  had 
been  thrown  at  them.  It  was  from  one  to  two  o'clock  before  the 
streets  were  cleared. 

"Monday,  T3th  September. — The  crowds  at  an  early  hour 
were  greater  this  day  than  on  Sunday,  and  there  was  evidently 
exhibited  a  very  unruly  spirit.  There  was  a  wildness  in  the 
countenance  of  every  person  I  met  this  day,  and  there  were  many 
strange  faces  among  the  crowd.  Different  people  called  early  in 
the  forenoon  and  complained  of  having  been  insulted  on  the 
streets.      About  twelve  o'clock,   Mr.  James  Jackson,  shopkeeper 


178  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

at  the  Cross,  brought  a  stone  in  his  hand  which  had  been 
thrown  at  him  while  he  was  shutting  his  shop  in  consequence 
of  some  riotous  conduct  of  the  mob,  whereby  lie  considered  his 
property  in  danger.  Information  also  came  to  the  office  that  Mr. 
William  Wylie  had  been  assaulted  in  the  Newtown,  driven  down, 
his  hat  taken  from  him  and  kicked  among  the  crowd,  and  it  was 
with  some  difficulty  he  had  reached  the  Tontine  Inn.  At  a  quarter 
before  one  o'clock,  the  Riot  Act  was  read  by  Provost  Jamieson,  and 
infantry  sent  for  from  Glasgow.  The  cavalry  were  also  brought  to  the 
Cross.  From  this  time  till  five  o'clock  in  the  evening,  the  appear- 
ance of  the  town  was  alarming.  The  cavalry  and  special  constables 
had  cleared  a  space  at  the  Cross,  round  which  the  Sheriff  and 
Magistrates  went  and  endeavoured  to  persuade  the  people  to 
disperse.  The  shops  were  all  shut  and  business  wholly  suspended. 
About  nearly  an  hour  after  the  Riot  Act  was  read,  the  mob  was 
disappointed  in  what  appeared  to  be  a  deep  laid  scheme.  About 
forty  boys  marched  in  military  order,  two  and  two,  with  stobs 
shouldered  like  muskets.  The  crowd  gave  way  and  allowed  them 
to  pass.  When  they  reached  near  the  Jail,  they  were  met  by  Mr. 
Martin,  of  the  Suburbs  Police.  They  instantly  threw  down  their 
stobs,  as  if  by  word  of  command,  and  retreated.  Some  of  the  stobs 
were  picked  up  and  thrown  at  Mr.  Martin,  which  caused  the  crowd 
to  retire  and  leave  an  open  circle  round  Mr.  Martin.  He  kept  his 
place  at  very  great  hazard  till  nearly  the  whole  were  thrown  at  him 
and  picked  up  by  the  police  officers.  No  doubt  these  stobs  were 
intended  for  a  very  different  purpose.  Two  companies  of  the 
80th  Regiment  arrived  from  Glasgow  between  four  and  five 
o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  and  it  was  not  deemed  prudent  to  clear 
the  streets  till  their  arrival.  About  this  time,  information  was  given 
that  a  meeting  was  then  in  St.  James  Street,  consisting  of  from 
5,000  to  6,000  persons.  The  Magistrates,  accompanied  by  a  party 
■  of  both  special  constables  and  ordinary  constables  and  some 
infantry  and  cavalry,  proceeded  towards  this  assemblage  of  persons 
to  apprehend  some  of  them  and  disperse  tliem.  As  they  went  down 
Moss  Street,  a  great  crowd  fled  before  them,  but  suddenly  turned 
round  and  threw  a  shower  of  stones  at  them  and  ran  away.  The 
cavalry  were  instantly  ordered  to  charge,  and  in  a  short  time  the 
streets  in  that  direction  were  cleared.  During  the  whole  evening 
and  till  an  advanced  hour  on  Tuesday  morning,  the  cavalry  and 
constables  were  engaged  clearing  the  streets,  and  were  often  assailed 
with  stones  and  brickbats,  during  which  time  many  persons  were 
apprehended.^ 

^  During  this  day,  the  following  proclamation  was  issued  : — "  Proclamation. 
The  Sheriff,  and  Provost  and  Magistrates,  and  Justices  of  the  Peace,  hereby 
require  all  parents  and  masters  in  the  town  and  suburbs  to  keep  their  children 
and  servants  within  doors  as  much  as  possible  during  the  day,  as  in  the  present 
disturbed  state  of  the  town  it  may  be  necessary  for  the  military  to  act  against 
the  mob.  And  the  said  Magistracy  do  earnestly  recommend  and  strictly  enjoin 
to  all  the  inhabitants,  parents  and  masters,  to  keep  their  whole  household  within 


iSoO    TILL    1S25.  IJCf 

"Tuesday,  14th  September. — This  day  passed  over  very  quietly, 
though  in  the  evening  there  were  a  number  of  windows  broken  in 
different  places.  Planks  of  wood  were  laid  across  the  streets  to 
bring  down  the  cavalry,  but  there  was  no  riotous  assemblage  so  as 
to  occasion  reading  of  the  Riot  Act.  The  countenances  of  the 
people  exhibited  less  bitterness  than  on  the  former  days.^ 

A  proclamation  in  similar  terms,  which  we  have  given  above,  was 
also  issued  on  this  day. 

"Wednesday,  15th  September. — This  day  was  quite  tranquil  till 
seven  o'clock  in  the  evening,  when  suddenly  a  crowd  appeared  at 
the  Cross.  After  the  clock  struck  eight  many  of  them  went  off; 
but  a  determined  party  remained  :  and,  some  time  after,  the  lamps 
above  the  Police-Oflice  door  were  broken  by  a  stone  from  the  crowd. 
At  half-past  eight  o'clock  the  Riot  Act  was  read  by  Provost 
Jamieson,  and  an  hour  thereafter  the  military  began  to  clear  the 
streets.  Before  this,  however,  a  party  of  rioters  had  commenced  in 
George  Street  by  destroying  a  police  watch-box.  They  were  heard 
to  deliberate  whether  they  would  fall  upon  ^Ir.  Robertson's  cotton 
mill,  but  they  proceeded  to  Colonel  Fulton's  gate  which  they 
demolished.  A  number  of  windows  were  broken  in  the  course  of 
the  evening.  Stones  were  thrown  plentifully  at  the  constables  and 
military,  and  wood,  as  in  the  former  night,  laid  across  the  streets  to 
trip  the  cavalry.     This  day  the  following  proclamation  was  issued : — 

"  '  Proclamation  by  the  Lieutenancy,  Sheriff,  and  Justices  of  Peace 
of  the  County  of  Renfrew,  and  by  the  Provost  and  Magistrates 
of  Paisley.  —  All  well-disposed  inhabitants  of  the  town  and 
suburbs  of  Paisley,  are  hereby  warned  to  keep  themselves  and 
their  whole  household  within  doors  after  eight  o'clock  in  the 
evening,  so  long  as  the  present  riotous  disposition  continues  ; 


doors  after  six  o'clock  in  the  evening,  as  they  and  theirs  will  be  amenable. 
— Council  Chambers,  Paisley,  13th  September,  1819." 

The  following  "instructions"  were  published  by  means  of  printed  placards 
circulated  in  the  town: — "The  special  constables,  and  other  well-disposed 
persons  of  each  ward,  will  remain  assembled,  under  the  direction  of  the  Com- 
missioners and  deputy  constables  for  the  ward.  They  will  prevent  crowds  from 
gathering  on  the  streets  and  will  require  all  passengers  to  go  on  directly  to  the  place 
of  their  destination.  If  any  breach  of  the  peace  is  committed,  they  will  endeavour 
to  secure  the  offenders,  and  carry  them  to  the  Police  Office,  two  or  three 
witnesses  to  the  offences  accompanying  the  prisoners  and  remaining  with  them 
till  their  names  and  the  nature  of  the  charge  is  taken  down  in  writing.  During 
the  present  disturbed  state  of  the  town,  the  constables,  on  hearing  the  alarm 
bell,  will  instantly  repair  to  the  rendezvous  to  be  appointed  for  each  ward. — 
Paisley,  13th  September,  i8iq." 

^  The  following  is  a  copy  of  a  handbill  that  was  circulated  in  the  town  by  order 
of  the  Magistrates  : — "Whereas,  a  false  and  infamous  report,  intended  to  excite 
riot  and  disturbance,  has  been  invented  and  extensively  circulated  that  a  child,  in  a 
woman's  arms,  had  been  killed,  or  severely  injured,  by  a  blow  from  the  baton  of 
a  special  constable,  a  reward  of  ten  pounds  is  hereby  offered  by  the  Magistrates 
of  Paisley  for  the  discovery  of  the  villainous  incendiary  who  is  the  author  of  this 
most  unfounded  and  malicious  report. — Council  Chambers,  Paisley,  14th 
.September,  1819." 


l8o  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

certifying  to  all  that  disregard  this  proclamation,  that  they 
will  have  themselves  to  blame  for  any  injury  they  may  sustain 
from  the  military  force  which  the  Magistracy  are  under  the 
necessity  of  employing,  in  the  most  decisive  manner,  to 
prevent  a  repetition  of  the  late  riotous  assemblies  and 
mischievous  attempts  to  pillage,  plunder,  and  destroy.  A 
reward  of  thirty  guineas  is  also  hereby  offered  for  such  infor- 
mation as  will  lead  to  the  discovery  and  conviction  of  the 
miscreants  who  have  been  concerned  in  breaking  street  lamps 
and  windows,  or  in  destruction  of  other  property.  —  Council 
Chamber,  Paisley,  15th  September,  1819.' 

"  The  following  is  a  copy  of  another  proclamation  that  was  issued 
this  day : — 

" '  The  Sheriff  of  the  County,  and  the  Provost  and  Magistrates  of 

Paisley,  require  all  parents  and  masters  in  the  town  and  suburbs 

to  keep  their  children  and  servants  within  doors  as  much  as 

possible  during  the  day,  while  the  present  riotous  disposition 

continues  in   Paisley.      But  it  is   expected   and   particularly 

enjoined,    that  all   the   well-disposed   inhabitants    will    keep 

themselves  and  their  whole  household  within  doors  after  eight 

o'clock   in    the    evening.  —  Council   Chamber,    Paisley,    15th 

September,  iSig.' 

"Thursday,  i6th  September. — This  day  passed  over  very  quietly; 

and  shortly  after  eight  o'clock  in  the  evening  there  was  scarcely 

any  person  on  the  streets  except  the  military  and  constables. 

"  Friday,  i  ytli  September. — This  was  a  quiet  day.  A  crowd 
collected  at  the  Cross  in  the  evening,  who  lingered  longer  than  on 
the  preceding  day.     The  constables  were  dismissed  at  ten  o'clock. 

"  (Signed)      James  Brown." 

Sheriff  Campbell,  in  a  declaration  on  the  13th  September  in  that 
year  regarding  these  riots,  corroborated  the  statements  made  by  Mr. 
Brown,  superintendent  of  pohce. 

Mr.  Wm.  Motherwell  (the  poet).  Sheriff- Clerk  Depute,  made  a  de- 
claration before  Sheriff  Dunlop  on  the  23rd  of  that  month.  He  stated 
that  "  he  was  called  upon  to  officiate  as  a  special  constable  during 
the  riots  in  Paisley  on  Saturday,  nth,  Sunday,  12th,  and  Monday, 
13th  September;  that  he  saw  a  party  pass  through  the  town  on 
Saturday  on  their  way  to  the  meeting  on  Meikleriggs  Moor ;  that 
they  carried  two  flags,  but  he  could  not  make  out  the  inscriptions 
on  them.  That  in  the  course  of  that  day  curiosity  induced  him  and 
an  acquaintance  of  his,  Mr.  Warrand  Carlile,  to  take  a  look  at  the 
place  of  meeting.  That  he  observed  eight  flags  planted  about  the 
centre  of  the  multitude  which  had  assembled  on  the  Meikleriggs 
Moor.  That  he  can  form  no  idea  of  the  number  that  might  be 
there,  but  which  seemed  to  be  always  increasing,  as  a  continuous 
stream  of  people  covered  the  road  from  the  suburbs  of  Maxwelton 
to  the  said  place  of  meeting.     That  at  the  gate  which  enters  into 


l8oO    TILL    1825.  181 

the  field  where  the  meeting  was,  there  were  placed  two  pewter 
trenchers  well  filled  with  half- pence.  That  between  five  and  six  in 
the  evening  the  meeting  broke  up,  and  great  crowds  proceeded 
down  the  High  Street  of  Paisley  towards  the  east.  That  the  Sheriff 
and  Magistrates  of  Paisley,  along  with  the  constables,  were  stationed 
at  the  Cross,  to  prevent  the  free  passage  of  the  streets  being  closed 
up  by  the  crowds  that  were  passing,  or  being  interrupted  by  others 
that  had  previously  passed,  and  Avere  standing  on  the  pavement  and 
in  the  square  at  the  Cross.  That  the  party  which  in  the  forenoon 
had  passed  through  the  town  now  returned  much  augmented  in 
numbers  and  with  their  flags  displayed.  That  when  they  came 
opposite  to  that  part  of  the  line  of  special  constables  where  the 
Magistrates  were,  they  waved  their  flags  and  gave  a  loud  cheer. 
That  the  Provost  of  Paisley  then  ordered  the  flags  to  be  seized, 
which  was  accordingly  done  ;  but  those  who  carried  them  got  off  by 
skulking  among  the  crowd.  That  after  this  the  crowd  increased 
every  minute,  and  stones  were  thrown  at  the  special  constables  and 
at  the  windows  of  the  Court  House  and  Council  Chamber  and 
Police  Ofiice,  many  of  which  were  broken,  and  several  of  the 
constables  much  hurt.  That  the  Riot  Act  was  read  about  half- past 
ten  o'clock  at  night,  but  the  crowd  did  not  disperse.  That  an  hour 
and  quarter  of  an  hour,  or  thereby,  having  elapsed  after  the  reading 
of  the  Riot  Act,  he  and  others  of  the  special  constables  were  desired 
to  proceed  up  the  High  Street  and  clear  it,  at  all  hazards,  of  the 
people  who  were  still  assembled.  That  in  going  up  the  street  he 
observed  many  of  the  crowd  skulking  into  closes.  That  at  the  head 
of  Storie  Street  he  observed  some  people  standing  together,  whom 
he  earnestly  urged  to  go  home  as  the  Riot  Act  was  read.  That 
having  got  the  length  of  William  Fulton's,  Esquire,  a  man  darted 
from  an  adjoining  close  and  gave  him  a  severe  blow  on  the  face, 
which  cut  his  nose  and  his  mouth.  That  he  ran  after  this  person  to 
apprehend  him,  but  was  immediately  surrounded  by  others,  who 

assailed  him  with  stones,  and  cried  to  each  other,  '  kill  the  b r, 

for  he  is  by  himself  That  he  was  obliged  to  fall  back  and  join  the 
rest  of  the  constables,  who  were  considerably  further  down  the 
street.  That  on  his  way  to  the  Cross  he  observed  some  folks  still 
standing  at  the  head  of  Storie  Street ;  and  on  asking  why  they  had 
not  gone  home,  one  returned  for  answer  that  they  would  go  when 
they  chose.  That  on  this  he  took  up  the  person  whom  he  imagined 
gave  this  answer,  and  knows  him  to  be  the  lad  who  calls  himself 
David  Monro.  That  this  lad  when  opposite  Sommerville  the 
cooper's  close  ran  up  it  to  escape,  but  was  afterwards  seized  and 
carried  to  the  Police  Office.  That  on  Sunday,  the  12th  current,  he 
observed  the  town  to  be  unusually  full  of  people,  many  of  whom 
seemed  to  him  to  be  strangers.  That  at  seven  in  the  evening,  as 
he  was  about  to  enter  his  lodgings,  he  saw  a  considerable  crowd 
collected  at  the  Cross,  and  heard  a  shouting  among  them.  That 
apprehensive  of  some  disturbance  he  went  to  the  Police  Office  to 
enquire  what  was  the  matter,  and  at  that  time  George  Ritchie, 


1 82  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

sergeant  of  police,  came  in  almost  unable  to  walk,  having,  as  he 
said,  got  at  that  very  moment  a  brickbat  thrown  at  him  while 
returning  from  the  Procurator -Fiscal's,  where  he  had  gone  to  inform 
him  of  the  suspicious  aspect  of  the  crowd,  and  which  brickbat  had 
struck  him  on  the  spine.  That  having  asked  if  the  Sheriff  was 
aware  that  so  great  a  crowd  had  assembled,  he  was  answered  in  the 
negative  ;  and  with  the  view  of  letting  the  Sheriff  know  that  there 
was  a  great  disposition  to  riot  manifesting  itself  among  the  crowd, 
he  left  the  Police  Office  and  went  down  the  town.  That  when  in 
the  middle  of  the  square  at  the  Cross,  some  fellows  looked  earnestly 

at  him  and  said,  '  mark  the  b r.'     That  one  of  them  attempted 

to  trip  him  but  failed.  That  these  attempts  were  repeated,  and 
several  blows  aimed  at  his  head  which  he  parried  off  That  the 
crowd  was  all  this  time  hurraing  and  pushing  on  those  nearest  to 
him,  who  then  struck  him  and  retired  into  the  heart  of  the  crowd. 
That  at  the  end  of  the  Old  Bridge,  as  he  warded  off  a  knock-down 
blow  aimed  at  him  by  a  fellow  in  a  long  blue  coat  and  dark  trousers, 
another  came  behind  him  and  tripped  up  his  heels.  That  he  fell 
on  his  side ;  and  before  he  could  recover  his  feet,  he  was  so  much 
stunned  by  the  blows  and  kicks  he  then  received  on  the  face  and  all 
parts  of  the  body,  that  he  became  almost  senseless.  That  on 
regaining  his  recollection  he  made  a  spring  on  the  crowd,  succeeded 
in  breaking  through  those  that  were  nearest  him,  and  with  much 
difficulty,  owing  to  his  bruises,  gained  the  door  of  William  Strang, 
vintner.  That  the  foremost  of  the  crowd  had  by  the  time  he  reached 
Mr.  Strang's  door  fastened  on  his  collar,  and  endeavoured  to  draw 
him  back,  all  the  while  using  most  horrid  imprecations.  That  in 
the  struggle  his  waistcoat  was  torn  away  and  his  shirt  rent  to  pieces. 
That  when  his  feet  were  tripped  as  aforesaid,  and  he  fell  in  conse- 
quence, a  cry  got  up  among  the  crowd  of  '  murder  the  b r ! 

finish  the  b r  when  he  is  down  ! '     That  after  he  got  inside  of 

Mr.  Strang's  house  several  windows  of  it  were  broken.  That  he 
was  so  exhausted  and  hurt,  that  he  lay  in  Mr.  Strang's  for  three 
hours  scarcely  able  to  move  a  limb.  That  in  the  meantime  he 
heard  of  riotings  on  the  street ;  and  that  the  windows  of  the  Coffee- 
Room,  the  street  lamps,  the  railings  of  the  INIethodist  Chapel,  had 
been  broken  by  the  mob.  That  on  Monday,  the  13th  current,  the 
town  began  early  to  be  perturbed  by  numerous  bands  of  idle  persons 
going  backwards  and  forwards,  and  a  report  that  a  party  from 
Glasgow  was  on  its  way  to  assist  the  Paisley  rioters.  That  about 
eleven  o'clock  the  whole  square  opposite  the  Cross  was  almost 
entirely  filled  with  people,  and  stones  were  occasionally  thrown,  one 
of  which  lighted  at  his  feet  as  he  was  standing  at  the  Police  door ; 
and  in  a  short  time  some  boys,  to  the  number  of  forty  or  fifty, 
marched  up  the  middle  of  the  square  with  stobs  or  stakes  shouldered. 
That  these  boys  were  hurraed  and  cheered  by  the  crowd  as  they 
advanced ;  and  when  they  reached  the  centre  thereof,  they  threw 
down  their  stobs  on  the  ground,  many  of  which  were  taken  up  by 
the  crowd ;  and  when  the  Sheriff  and  some  of  the  police  officers 


iSoo    TILL    1S25.  183 

Stepped  forward  to  pick  up  the  remainder,  they  were  assailed  by 
persons  in  the  back  part  of  the  crowd  throwing  the  stobs  at  them 
which  they  had  taken  up  as  aforesaid.  That  not  long  after  this  the 
Riot  Act  was  read  by  Provost  Jamieson ;  and  while  reading  it  the 
declarant  observed  some  stones  thrown  at  him  and  those  who  were 
beside  him  on  that  occasion.  That  placards  intimating  that  the 
Riot  Act  had  been  read  were  affixed  to  boards  and  then  carried 
along  the  edge  of  the  crowd.  That  at  six  o'clock  orders  were  issued 
that  the  streets  should  be  cleared,  and  he  accompanied  a  party  of 
constables  and  cavalry  up  the  High  Street.  That  several  stones 
were  thrown  from  the  Meal  Market  close,  and  he  ran  down  with 
some  others  and  discovered  two  lads  running  into  a  workshop 
adjacent  to  the  garden  wall  at  the  end  of  the  said  close.  That  they 
shut  the  door  of  the  shop  after  them  ;  that  the  people  who  wrought 
in  it  gave  admission  to  the  constables.  That  he  laid  hold  on  one 
of  the  lads,  and  then  gave  him  over  to  some  of  the  other  constables 
to  take  to  the  Police  Office.  That  this  lad's  name  the  declarant 
does  not  know,  nor  could  he  recognise  his  features  again.  All 
which  is  truth. 

"(Signed)       W.  Motherwell." 

At  the  first  meeting  of  the  Council,  held  on  20th  September,  after 
these  outrageous  disturbances,  the  Provost  briefly  adverted  to  them, 
and  stated  that  "  they  had  excited  alarm  for  several  days,  and  had 
been  productive  of  personal  injury  to  many  respectable  individuals 
and  of  great  destruction  of  property  both  of  a  public  and  private 
nature  ;  and  he  rejoiced  that  the  tumultuous  proceedings  were 
suppressed  without  bloodshed  or  violence  on  the  part  of  those  most 
actively  engaged  in  the  hazardous  duty."  He  also  laid  on  the 
table  extracts  from  minutes  of  a  meeting  of  the  Lieutenancy  held 
on  the  14th  of  that  month,  in  which  they  were  of  opinion  that  the 
present  military  force  should  remain  in  the  town  for  some  time, 
that  temporary  barracks  should  be  obtained,  and  that  the  expense 
of  the  same  should  be  borne  by  the  town  and  county.  They  also 
offered  their  thanks  to  the  Sheriff  and  Magistrates  for  the  active 
measures  they  took  in  suppressing  the  proceedings  of  the  mob,  and 
for  their  temperate  conduct  in  preventing  the  effusion  of  blood. 
At  another  meeting  of  the  Lieutenancy  held  four  days  afterwards,  a 
representation,  signed  by  the  Sheriff  and  Provost  Jamieson,  urged 
"  the  propriety,  and  indeed  the  necessity,  of  having  a  permanent 
military  force  stationed  in  this  large  manufacturing  town,  which  is 
surrounded  by  several  very  populous  villages."  They  also  "  hoped 
the  Government  would  see  the  propriety  of  erecting  in  Paisley  a 
barracks  of  a  moderate  scale."  The  meeting  unanimously  concurred 
in  this  opinion,  and  requested  the  Vice-Lieutenant  to  transmit  a 
representation  to  Lord  Sidmouth,  pointing  out  the  necessity  of  a 
proper  barracks  capable  of  holding  a  hundred  infantry.  The  present 
barracks  were  erected  within  three  years  afterwards  in  consequence 
of  this   application.      The   Council,  at  a  meeting  held  on   20th 


184  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

September,  resolved  that  their  most  cordial  thanks,  and  those  of  the 
community  in  general,  are  due  to  the  Deputy-Lieutenants  for  their 
very  friendly  counsel  and  advice  and  personal  co-operation  in 
subduing  the  spirit  of  tumult  and  insurrection ;  also,  to  the  Sheriffs, 
and  the  Procurator-Fiscals,  and  the  special  constables,  for  "  their 
continued  perseverance  and  humane  exertions  in  the  dispersion  of 
the  deluded  and  infuriated  mob,  notwithstanding  the  hazard  to 
which  they  were  frequently  exposed  and  the  personal  injury  which 
some  of  them  sustained."  Thanks  were  also  voted  to  the  police, 
Major  Kingdon,  of  the  80th  Regiment ;  Lieutenant  Hodgson,  of 
the  loth  Hussars  ;  Lieutenant  Strangeways,  of  the  7th  Hussars;  and 
all  the  officers  and  privates  of  these  regiments. 

At  a  County  meeting,  held  on  the  15th  October,  regarding  the 
distress  of  the  operative  manufacturers  in  the  county,  on  the 
suggestion  of  Mr.  Maxwell,  M.P.,  they  agreed  to  memorialise  the 
Government  to  grant  a  loan  of  such  magnitude  as  would  enable 
them  to  expend  ;;^2o,ooo  annually  for  four  years,  to  complete  the 
Ardrossan  Canal ;  to  request  a  donation  of  ;^3o,ooo,  to  employ  the 
overgrown  population  in  cultivating  waste  lands  or  in  improving  the 
navigation  of  the  river  Clyde ;  to  request  a  donation  for  the  forma- 
tion of  new  roads  and  railways ;  also,  that  a  Bill  be  brought  into 
Parliament  to  regulate  the  time  of  apprenticeship  to  the  weaving 
trade,  and  also  a  sum  to  assist  in  emigration. 

According  to  previous  intimation,  a  large  meeting  of  the  Radical 
Reformers  of  Renfrewshire  was  held  at  Johnstone,  on  ist  November. 
By  one  o'clock,  the  people  from  Paisley  and  neighbouring  towns 
had  arrived  to  the  number  of  about  two-thirds  of  the  meeting, 
with  various  bands  of  music  and  thirty-two  flags.  Upon  a  fine 
large  blue  flag  was  a  full-length  likeness  of  Major  Cartwright 
with  his  Bill  in  his  hand.  The  motto  above  his  head  was, 
"  The  venerable  champion  of  our  cause,"  and  at  his  feet, 
"For  a  nation  to  be  free,  it  is  sufficient  that  it  wills  it;"  reverse, 
"  Let  all  who  love  liberty  rally  round  the  standard  of  Reform." 
Upon  another  was  a  painting  of  Wallace  inscribed  "Sir  William 
Wallace"  on  the  top,  and  at  the  foot,  "Like  our  ancestors,  we'll 
defend  our  liberty  and  laws."  Upon  another  was  a  spade  and  a 
grape,  with  the  motto,  "  The  mucking  of  Geordie's  byre."  Others 
had  harps,  Scottish  thistles,  &c.,  and  such  mottoes  as,  "  Abhor  the 
inhuman  butchers  at  Manchester;"  "  No  Corn  Laws ;"  "  Cartwright's 
Bill ;"  "  Take  away  the  wicked  from  before  the  King,  and  his  throne 
will  be  established  in  righteousness;"  "Reason  not  with  tyrants; 
man  has  only  once  to  die;"  "The  borough -mongers' fall  is  fast 
approaching  ;"  "  Against  tyranny  and  oppression  our  lives  we'll 
spend  our  rights  to  gain ;"  "A  day,  an  hour,  of  victorious  liberty  is 
worth  a  whole  eternity  of  bondage;"  "Liberty  the  object  and 
reason  the  guide;"  thistle,  rose,  and  shamrock  —  motto,  "May 
our  union  be  firm,"  and  on  the  other  side,  "  Let  tyrants  and  despots 
be  banished  from  the  face  of  the  earth,"  with  the  figure  of  Justice ; 


l800    TILL    1835.  185 

thistle,  "Our  love  of  liberty  shall  ripen  with  our  years;"  "  Thread 
Street  Juvenile  Reformers;"'  thistle,  "We  are  the  descendants  of 
Wallace  and  Bruce,"  —  reverse,  "Parents,  recover  your  rights,  and 
let  them  be  handed  down  unimpaired  to  your  children's  children  ;" 
thistle,  and  on  the  reverse,  "  A  day  of  liberty  is  worth  a  thousand 
of  slavery;"  "The  rights  of  man  are  liberty,  proper  security,  and 
resistance  of  oppression,"  —  reverse,  "Shall  Britons  ever  be  ruled 
by  knaves?  No,  Britons  never  shall  be  slaves  ;"  "Who  would  not 
guard  so  dear  a  right,  or  die  in  such  a  glorious  cause  ?  "  —  reverse, 
"  Remove  the  wicked  from  before  the  King,  and  his  throne  shall  be 
established  in  righteousness  ;"  a  Paisley  flag  bore,  "  To  be  inactive 
is  a  crime,  and  to  resist  slavery  is  death,"  &c.  Mr.  Brodie,  Kil- 
barchan,  was  chosen  chairman,  and  a  good  looking  young  woman 
placed  a  splendid  cap  of  Liberty  on  his  head.  Caps  of  Liberty  and 
addresses  were  presented  by  the  female  Reformers  of  Johnstone, 
Millarston,  Kilbarchan,  and  Elderslie.  Some  short  speeches  were 
delivered  and  resolutions  of  the  usual  kind  passed,  and  an  appeal  was 
agreed  on  to  the  Prince  Regent.  A  number  of  female  Reformers 
remained  upon  the  hustings  during  the  proceedings.  As  there  were 
five  caps  of  Liberty  on  the  hustings,  every  speaker  put  on  one  when 
he  addressed  the  meeting.  The  chairman  put  on  one  at  the  close, 
and  he  requested  the  people  to  go  quietly  home.  The  meeting  then 
dispersed.  When  the  procession  was  returning  through  EldersUe, 
they  halted  beneath  Wallace's  tree,  when  the  bands  played  "  Scots 
wha  hae  wi'  Wallace  bled."  Three  cheers  were  given,  and  a  number 
of  pistols  were  fired.  The  whole  body  of  people  turned  down 
Storie  Street  to  avoid  the  Cross.  A  band  of  about  a  hundred  boys 
closed  the  procession.  They  carried  eight  little  flags  with  such 
mottoes  as  "The  draw-boys'  lament  for  the  times;'  "Bread  and 
liberty;"  "The  juvenile  Reformers;"  "As  the  auld  cock  crows 
the  young  cock  learns,"  Avith  the  figure  of  a  cock  ;  "  Let  tyrants 
tremble  and  look  down  upon  the  rising  generation ;"  "  Rights  of 
man,"  &c.  There  had  evidently  been  a  good  many  pistols  brought 
to  the  meeting.  All  the  Radicals  had  sticks,  and  two  battle-axes 
were  carried  in  the  procession  and  placed  upon  the  hustings  during 
the  proceedings.  All  the  shops  from  the  west-end  of  the  town  to 
the  head  of  Storie  Street  were  shut.  The  cavalry  were  kept  ready 
saddled  all  day — one-half  at  the  Tontine  Inn  and  the  other  at  the 
Saracen's  Head  Inn.  A  picquet  of  twelve  constables  from  each  of 
the  town's  parishes  were  assembled  in  the  Saracen's  Head  Inn,  at 
half-past  three  o'clock,  and  a  picquet  of  twenty  constables  from  the 
Newtown  met  in  the  County  Hall  at  the  same  hour.  It  was  also 
arranged  that  if  the  alarm  bell  should  be  rung,  the  whole  of  the 
constabulary  for  the  Town  and  Newtown  should  repair  to  the  Cross. 
The  people,  however,  dispersed  in  the  most  peaceful  manner,  and 
by  six  o'clock  the  streets  were  no  more  thronged  than  usual. 

On  5  th  November,  another  county  meeting  was  held  regarding 
a  communication  from  the  Secretary  of  State  as  to  raising  a  corps  of 
yeomanry  cavalry  in  the  county.      The  Earl  of  Glasgow,  who  pre- 

N 


l86  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

sided,  first  adverted  to  the  existing  distresses  of  the  manufacturing 
classes,  which  he  deeply  lamented,  and  earnestly  recommended  to 
the  liberal  consideration  of  everyone.  The  meeting,  on  the  motion 
of  the  noble  chairman,  afterwards  agreed  that  the  recommendation 
of  His  Majesty's  Government  respecting  the  formation  of  a  corps  of 
yeomanry  cavalry  in  the  county  should  have  their  zealous  support, 
such  a  force  being  peculiarly  suited  to  the  present  state  of  the 
country.  A  committee  was  appointed  for  carrying  the  resolution 
into  effect.  The  meeting  further,  collectively  and  individually, 
pledged  themselves  to  give  their  most  zealous  aid  to  the  formation 
of  every  measure  for  the  preservation  of  the  public  peace. 

On  the  9th  November,  the  Council  unanimously  voted  an  address 
to  the  Prince-Regent  expressive  of  their  personal  regard  for  His  Royal 
Highness,  of  undiminished  attachment  to  the  constitution  of  the 
country,  and  of  abhorrence  of  the  seditious,  revolutionary,  and 
irreligious  principles  so  actively  disseminated  by  the  enemies  of 
order  and  good  government. 

At  this  period,  several  daring  house -robberies  were  committed  in 
different  parts  of  the  country  by  lawless  persons,  not  Radicals, 
taking  advantage  of  the  times.  One  of  these  took  place  at  the 
farm-house  of  Western  (or  High)  Capilly,  occupied  by  Mr.  James 
Arneil,  on  the  morning  of  the  13th  November.  The  robbers  broke 
open  the  door  leading  to  the  milk -house,  entered  the  kitchen,  and 
compelled  the  servant -women  to  remain  in  their  beds.  Mrs.  Arneil 
and  her  daughter,  on  hearing  the  noise,  concluded  that  robbers  were 
breaking  into  the  house,  and  escaped  by  a  window.  Miss  Arneil, 
by  the  directions  of  her  mother,  went,  in  a  state  almost  of  nudity, 
to  John  Brown's,  of  the  farm  of  East  (or  Low)  Capilly,  less  than 
half-a-mile  distant,  to  give  the  alarm.  John  Brown  and  his  eldest 
son  (Archibald  Brown),  the  only  men  in  the  house,  left  immediately, 
each  armed  with  a  good  staff.^  On  coming  near  to  Mr.  Arneil's 
house,  they  met  the  band  of  seven  or  eight  robbers,  a  few  of  whom 
swore  some  awful  oaths,  and  shouted,  "  Shoot  them,''  and  one  of 
the  robbers  flourished  a  naked  sword  over  the  head  of  John  Brown ; 
but  others  cried  "  Let  them  pass,"  and  the  advice,  fortunately,  was 
attended  to.  On  getting  admittance  to  Mr.  Arneil's  house,  John 
Brown  and  Archibald  Brown  learned  what  had  taken  place,  for  Miss 
Arneil  had  left  so  hurriedly  that  she  could  not  give  any  definite 
information  relating  to  the  robbers.  Mrs.  Arneil  did  not  leave  the 
house  so  qickly  as  her  daughter,  but  looked  into  the  room  by  the 
window  and  saw  the  pillaging  going  on.  She  went  to  Mrs.  Glen's, 
at  the  meal  mill  on  the  Killoch  burn,  less  than  half-a-mile  distant, 
where  there  were  only  females.  The  alarm  was  given  by  them  to 
those  in  the  nearest  farm,  who,  on  hearing  what  was  going  on,  came 
armed.  The  robbers  had  left,  however,  a  good  while  earlier.  The 
robbers  in  their  plundering  secured  £10  in  money,  a  gold  watch, 
and  a  large  quantity  of  wearing  apparel.  This  daring  robbery 
caused   great   excitement,   particularly   in    Neilston   Parish.      For 

^  These  were  the  father  and  eldest  brother  of  the  writer. 


l800    TILL    1825.  187 

committing  this  robbery,  Samuel  Maxwell,  Robert  Muir,  James 
Donelly,  and  Alexander  Hamilton,  were  tried  before  the  High 
Court  of  Justiciary  at  Edinburgh,  on  12th  December,  1820.  The 
jury  found  the  charges  against  Muir  and  Donelly  not  proven,  but 
Maxwell  and  Hamilton  were  found  guilty,  and  sentenced  to  be 
hanged.  Dolin  was  one  of  the  accomplices,  but  was  set  at  Hberty 
because  he  gave  evidence  against  the  other  prisoners. 

Another  of  the  daring  robberies  committed  at  this  time  was  at 
Crossmyloof,  at  four  o'clock  on  Sunday  morning,  the  19th  of  the 
following  month.  A  gang  of  nine  men,  armed  with  guns,  swords, 
and  other  deadly  weapons,  broke  into  the  house  of  the  late  Dr. 
Watt  there,  wherein  were  four  young  men,  a  maid -servant,  Mrs. 
Watt,  and  a  female  friend.  Some  of  the  robbers  stood  watch  at  the 
young  men's  bedroom  door,  and  other  two  of  them,  whose  faces 
were  discoloured  with  some  material,  stood  at  the  beds  with  guns 
pointed  at  the  trembling  females,  and  with  horrible  imprecations 
threatened  them  with  instant  death  if  they  made  the  least  noise.  A 
guard  was  also  placed  outside  the  gate ;  and  the  robbers  being 
strong  and  secure,  pillaged  the  house  with  great  deliberation.  A 
great  variety  of  things  were  carried  off,  among  which  were  three 
dozen  silver  spoons,  one  silver  divider,  one  pair  of  silver  candle- 
sticks, two  pairs  of  silver  snuffers,  three  gold  rings,  two  suits  of 
clothes  of  the  late  Dr.  Watt,  a  miniature  picture  of  him  set  in  gold, 
thirty  gowns,  five  dozen  shirts,  a  gun,  and  a  great  quantity  of  napery. 
The  robbers  were  more  than  an  hour  in  the  house ;  and  judging 
from  the  slang  they  used  and  the  systematic  manner  in  which  they 
proceeded,  they  appeared  to  be  practised  depredators  (Glasgow 
Chro7iicle,  21st  December,  1819). 

A  county  meeting,  called  by  requisition,  was  held  on  20th 
November,  and  was  numerously  attended, —  the  Earl  of  Glasgow 
presiding.  Those  present  expressed  "  their  firm  determination  to 
support  by  every  means  in  their  power  the  constitution  of  the 
United  Kingdom  against  the  seditious  attempts  which  have  been 
recently  made  in  difterent  parts  of  the  country  to  disturb  and 
endanger  the  public  peace."  It  was  agreed  that  an  address,  in 
terms  of  the  resolutions,  should  be  sent  to  the  Prince -Regent. 
During  the  last  month  of  1820  the  country  was  in  a  very  disturbed 
state.  Near  Airdrie  the  Radicals  engaged  in  a  course  of  military 
training ;  and  the  Glasgow  magistrates,  as  stated  in  their  proclama- 
tion, were  "  so  deeply  impressed  by  a  sense  of  the  danger  to  which 
the  city  was  exposed  from  the  attempts  of  the  turbulent  and  dis- 
affected, that  they  thought  it  their  duty  to  call  upon  the  citizens  to 
take  arms  in  defence  of  their  lives  and  property."  They  also  "  had 
reason  to  believe  that  disaffected  and  seditious  persons  intend  to 
assemble  in  large  bodies,  with  arms  of  different  kinds  and  various 
offensive  weapons,  with  the  view,  it  must  be  held,  of  proceeding  to 
acts  of  pillaging  and  plunder ; "  and  gave  notice  that  all  such  illegal 
meetings  would  be  immediately  resisted  by  military  force. 

Let  us  hear  what  John  Parkhill,  who  was  one  of  the  leading 


l88  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Radicals,  states  regarding  the  movements  in  Paisley  at  this  time  to 
overturn  the  British  Government  by  force  of  arms  : — 

"  I  am  now  coming  to  the  most  eventful  period  of  my  life. 
Reform  —  Radical  reform  —  was  at  this  time,  1820,  becoming  the 
universal  cry;  and  I,  poor  fellow,  got  into  its  meshes.  In  the  street 
where  I  resided  (Maxwellton)  the  inhabitants  were  all  Radicals 
throughout.  The  association  had  been  divided  into  sections  or 
unions ;  and  I  happening  to  go  to  a  meeting  one  night,  before  I 
knew  where  I  was  was  made  a  member.  Several  speeches  were 
made,  quite  sensible  in  the  main,  for  things  had  not  got  into  the 
rabid  state  to  which  they  afterwards  attained  ;  and  I  thought  that 
some  sport  might  be  had  although  reform  did  not  prove  to  be  the 
upshot  of  the  affair,  nor  yet  a  '  psalm  in  the  Grassmarket.'  The 
unions  still  increased ;  and  such  was  the  temerity  of  the  young 
aspirants  after  political  fame,  that  the  old  leaders  to  a  man  had 
resigned  and  left  the  field  to  the  young  politicians  already  alluded 
to.  Training  after  nightfall  became  quite  common  ;  and  officers,  if 
not  appointed,  were  talked  of  Pikes,  guns,  and  pistols  were  getting 
in  readiness  ;  and  over  and  above  drill,  large  public  meetings  added 
to  the  general  agitation  ;  whilst  the  fatal  meeting  at  Manchester,  on 
the  iSth  of  August,  1819,  was  a  culminating  plan  in  the  insurrec- 
tionary movement.  Our  drilling  got  brisker  than  ever.  One  squad 
might  be  seen  on  the  road  to  Gleniff'er  ;  another  at  Brediland ;  and 
indeed  throughout  the  whole  country  they  were  gathering.  After 
all  I  do  not  believe  the  third  part  of  them  had  any  idea  that  it 
would  come  to  earnest.  The  great  proportion  of  them  were  below 
thirty  years  of  age;  and  their  turning  out  was  through  excitement 
and  what  they  termed  fun  —  hence  the  drill  afforded  excellent  sport, 
and  the  causing  of  alarm  became  an  important  feature  in  the  matter. 
It  must  be  acknowledged,  however,  that  a  vast  number  were  in 
downright  earnest,  and  spoke  of  blood  and  wounds  like  old 
campaigners.  The  authorities  had  but  a  glimmering  knowledge 
both  of  the  strength  and  tactics  of  the  Radicals,  who  carried  on 
their  treasonable  practices  with  all  the  skill  of  sly  and  imperturbable 
diplomatists.  In  preparation  for  the  coming  struggle  yeomanry 
cavalry  were  raised,  and  a  force  of  what  were  termed  'dandy  rifles' 
organised.  The  Radical  committee  contrived  to  obtain  a  list  of  the 
names  and  residences  of  the  members  of  these  bodies,  with  the  view 
of  forcibly  seizing  their  arms.  I  saw  the  danger  of  this  proposed 
proceeding,  and  took  means  to  frustrate  the  attempt ;  and  on 
looking  back  on  the  strange  state  of  things  in  which  we  had  involved 
ourselves,  I  am  proud  of  having  saved  many  on  both  sides  from 
perishing  in  an  ignoble  and  disgraceful  strife.  The  first  day  of 
April  was  the  appointed  day  for  the  rising  of  the  Radicals,  and  great 
activity  was  being  displayed  by  the  leaders.  There  was  a  safety- 
valve  in  the  case  which,  had  it  been  attended  to,  would  have 
prevented  an  explosion  in  Scotland.  The  ambassadors  who  had 
been  sent  by  us  to  Nottingham  stated  that,  by  an  agreement  with 
the  English,  we  were  not  to  move  until  we  heard  that  200,000  had 


l8oO    TILL    1825.  189 

taken  the  field  in  England.  Had  we  been  as  wise  as  we  are 
generally  presumed  to  be,  we  would  have  been  perfectly  safe  ;  but 
we  were  keen  to  try  our  unfleshed  swords,  and  the  sequel  showed 
us  to  be  a  parcel  of  egregious  fools.  I  had  always  depended  upon 
this  saving  clause,  and  so  was  quietly  led  into  the  trap  from  which 
it  was  scarcely  possible  to  get  extricated.  Our  leaders  Avere  very 
industrious,  and  ever  and  anon  were  telling  us  of  officers  they  had 
secured ;  that  surgeons  and  a  medical  staff  were  also  in  a  state  of 
forwardness ;  and  that  even  women  were  employed  to  prepare 
dressings  for  the  hospitals.  These  last  things  were  not  very  pala- 
table to  many  of  us.  They  indicated  blood  and  gunshot  wounds  ; 
and  from  the  number  of  military  that  were  gathering  around  us,  it 
appeared  we  were  approaching  a  stern  reality,  and  that  a  cataract 
of  horrid  carnage  was  in  sight,  provided  we,  the  Radicals,  stood 
firm.  By  this  time,  however,  I  was  quite  satisfied  that  not  a  man 
would  appear  in  this  mighty  contest  which  we  had  been  preparing 
for ;  and  the  sequel  will  show  I  was  right.  In  a  certain  weaver's 
shop  in  Maxwellton  Street,  a  large  assemblage  took  place  every 
night,  when  everything  in  reference  to  the  general  rising  was 
discussed.  A  good  deal  of  Avhat  was  serious  was  brought  under 
review,  although  it  must  be  owned  that  fun  and  humorous  stories 
were  the  commodities  in  greatest  repute.  This  House  of  Commons 
was  called  the  'smiddy;'  and  although  we  had  no  legislative  powers, 
we  often  assumed  a  right  to  do  things  that  ought  to  have  been  done 
by  the  central  government.  As  matters  were  drawing  to  a  head, 
the  subject  of  the  appointment  of  officers  —  not  generals,  but  the 
lower  class,  such  as  regimental  officials  —  formed  the  marrow  of  our 
cogitations  at  one  of  these  meetings.  After  a  pretty  long  conver- 
sation, we  found  there  Avould  be  plenty  of  officers  obtained,  but  the 
great  difficulty  was  to  find  properly  qualified  persons.  That  we  had 
the  stuff  of  which  to  make  officers  was  apparent  to  all,  but  experience 
was  necessary;  and  then  before  experience  could  be  attained,  two 
or  three  generations  of  officers  would  have  to  die.  This  was  rather 
a  damper  on  our  enthusiasm.  Amongst  our  company  we  had  a 
nice  little  fellow  of  the  name  of  Daniel  Bell,  and  our  fear  was  that 
there  would  be  too  little  of  Daniel,  for  he  was  only  five  feet  high. 
It  appeared  that  he  had  been  an  officer's  servant  some  short  time, 
and  had  received  several  trinkets  from  his  master,  among  which 
was  a  pair  of  epaulettes.  On  the  possession  of  these  he  grounded 
his  claim  to  be  an  officer.  He  had  also  been  our  drill  sergeant, 
and  an  excellent  one  he  was ;  and  we  therefore  appointed  him  our 
captain  by  a  unanimous  vote.  He  was,  I  believe,  the  first  officer 
that  was  chosen,  and  I  am  constrained  to  think  the  only  one. 
About  a  month  before  the  grand  proclamation  was  issued,  a  meeting 
of  delegates  from  all  the  surrounding  country  met  in  a  tavern  in  the 
Gallowgate  of  Glasgow ;  and  they  had  not  been  assembled  above 
ten  minutes,  when  the  servant-maid  came  into  the  room  quite  in  a 
panic  crying  out  that  the  police  were  coming  in.  In  the  midst  of 
the  consternation  produced  by  this,  a  strong  force  entered  the  room 
and   took   the   whole   of  the   company  prisoners,    seized  all   the 


190 


HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 


documents  in  their  possession,  and  forthwith  marched  them  off  to 
prison.  In  the  course  of  two  hours  a  delegate  arrived  at  Paisley 
with  the  alarming  intelligence.  Our  committee  was  accordingly 
called  together ;  and  for  safety  we  marched  off  to  Gleniffer,  and 
dived  into  the  heart  of  the  gorge  in  the  hills  in  the  same  manner, 
and  with  the  same  instincts,  that  prompted  the  old  Covenanters. 
Here  we  and  the  '  cushat '  had  all  the  solitude  to  ourselves.  On 
comparing  notes  we  found  that  not  much  danger  was  to  be  appre- 
hended from  the  capture,  as  the  documents  the  delegates  had  were 
only  scraps  to  help  their  memory,  and  being  somewhat  hierogly- 
phical  would  not  be  very  easily  understood.  After  remaining  in  the 
glen  for  an  hour  we  returned  home,  agreeing  to  send  two  delegates 
to  Glasgow  on  the  morrow.  In  the  meantime  pikes  and  pike  shafts 
were  still  accumulating,  but  very  few  fire  arms.  I  recollect  of  once 
going  out  to  Elderslie  to  bring  in  two  dozen  of  pike  shafts.  I  went 
out  at  the  request  of,  and  in  company  with,  one  of  our  chiefs.  The 
complement  of  shafts  being  delivered  to  us  we  started  for  home. 
As  the  military  had  been  on  the  increase,  and  in  Paisley  and  Glasgow 
there  might  be  a  force  of  from  twenty  to  thirty  thousand, 
which  afforded  patrols  throughout  the  whole  country,  we 
were  under  the  fear  of  meeting  with  some  of  them,  and 
thought  the  safest  way  to  convey  our  seizable  burden  was 
to  swim  them  in  by  the  canal.  We  got  to  the  end  of 
our  destination  unmolested,  but  our  great  difficulty  was 
to  get  any  persons  to  take  them  into  their  houses.  This 
did  not  speak  much  in  favour  of  the  coming  war,  as  the 
people,  when  it  came  to  the  push,  did  not  seem  to  be 
possessed  of  great  alacrity  in  the  matter.  At  the  time 
Daniel  Bell  was  made  captain,  I  was  also  appointed  to 
what  is  generally  accounted  a  lucrative  office,  namely, 
that  of  commissary-general.  I  objected  a  good  deal ;  but 
he  who  proposed  me  considered  I  was  exactly  made  for 
it,  the  more  so  as  I  had  a  great  antipathy  to  saltpetre. 
These  appointments  (and  I  am  convinced  we  were 
the  only  officers  who  were  ever  appointed  in  the 
cause)  led  to  no  result  whatever,  further  than  furnish- 
ing a  little  sport  for  the  time  being.  Daniel  showed 
his  epaulettes ;  but  as  for  me,  I  had  not  half-a-loaf 
to  show  to  my  kind  constituents.  Our  Provost  was  a 
Mr.  Oliver  Jamieson,  naturally  a  good  gentleman,  but, 
like  all  the  rest  of  the  authorities,  haunted  by  the  idea 
that  the  Radicals  were  a  most  formidable  body  of  men, 
and  if  not  looked  after  would,  some  fine  morning,  over- 
turn the  State,  when,  in  fact,  we  could  not  have  made 
ourselves  masters  of  the  porter's  lodge  of  Dumbarton 
Castle"  (Autobiography  of  Arthur  Sneddon,  p.  74). 


RADICAL  PIKE. 


The  Radical  pikes  so  frequently  referred  to  were  of 
the  rudest  description.  The  head,  about  thirteeen 
inches  long,  was  made  of  iron,  representing  a  spear,  and 


iSoO    TILL    1825. 


191 


the  handle  or  shaft  was  generally  a  young  tree  about  six  feet  long 
and  about  one -and -a- half  inches  thick,  taken  from  the  plantations 
around  Paisley.  We  give  a  drawing  of  one  of  those  weapons, 
taken  from  a  pike  in  our  possession.  The  manufacture  of  pikes 
was  continued  by  night  with  astonishing  rapidity  and  persever- 
ance. Blacksmiths'  and  carpenters"  shops  were  taken  possession  of 
by  strangers,  and  those  in  outlying  country  places  were  in  great 
requisition  for  preparing  weapons  in  anticipation  of  the  approaching 
combat.  Files  were  carried  off  wherever  they  could  be  got,  to 
hammer  into  pikes,  which  "  were  openly  sold  at  from  sevenpence  to 
one  shilling,  according  to  the  quality."  ^  Some  of  these  pikes,  we 
are  informed,  were  made  with  a  hook  of  considerable  size  attached 
to  the  lower  end  of  the  spear,  and  were  meant  to  be  used  for 
unhorsing  troopers  and  other  warlike  deeds. 

The  other  weapons  called  Radical  clegs,  a  kind  of  dart,  which 
the  Radicals  made,  were  somewhat  of  the  nature  of  a  sluittlecock. 
They  consisted  of  a  piece  of  lead, 
about  two  inches  broad  at  the 
one  end  and  tapering  to  about 
one  inch  at  the  other  end,  where 
a  sharp  steel  spear  of  about  three 
inches  in  length  was  fixed.  At 
the  broad  end  of  the  lead,  fea- 
thers were  fixed,  so  as  to  guide 
its  flight.  These  could  be  thrown 
to  a  considerable  distance  with 
precision  and  effect.  We  here 
give  a  sketch  of  one  of  these  clegs. 


At  the  end  of  January,  1820, 
three  young  men,  named  Daniel 
Jamieson,  Matthew  Adam,  and 
Adam  Macarthur,  were  tried  be- 
fore the  Sheriff  and  a  jury,  for 
aiding  the  rioters  in  the  previous 
September,  in  Paisley.  Daniel 
Jamieson  acknowledged  his  guilt, 
and  was  sentenced  to  four  months' 
imprisonment,  and  to  find  proper 
security  to  keep  the  peace  for  two 
years.  Matthew  Adam  denied 
the  charges  made  against  him, 
and  after  an  investigation,  which 
lasted  eight  hours,  he  was  found 
guilty,  and  sentenced  to  nine 
months'  imprisonment,  and  also 
to  find  security  to  keep  the  peace 


RADICAL  CLEG. 


1  Letter,  published  in  pamphlet  form,  dated  20th  April,  1820,  to  the  Duke  of 
Hamilton,  detailing  the  late  Rebellion  in  the  West  of  Scotland,  by  a  British 
Subject. 


192  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

for  an  equal  length  of  time.  The  charges  against  Adam  Macarthur 
were  departed  from  by  the  Procurator-Fiscal,  and  he  was  dismissed 
from  the  bar. 

On  15th  February,  1820,  the  Council  voted  "an  address  of  con- 
dolence to  King  George  IV.,  on  account  of  the  demise  of  our 
revered  Sovereign,  George  III." 

In  the  last  week  of  March,  a  spirit  of  insubordination  prevailed 
in  the  town ;  and  discontent  and  disaffection,  which  had  been 
smouldering  for  a  considerable  time,  had  the  appearance  of  break- 
ing out  into  open  rebellion.  A  rumour  was  current  for  several 
evenings  that  a  general  rising  was  in  contemplation,  and  that  the 
disaffected  were  very  active  in  making  the  necessary  arrangements 
for  that  purpose.  One  of  the  reports  Avas  that  large  parties  of 
Radicals  met  every  night  in  the  woods  and  moors  adjacent  to 
Paisley,  to  learn  the  pike  exercise  and  other  military  tactics.  The 
authorities  were  informed  that  an  immense  number  of  weapons  were 
concealed  in  Legget's  Wood ;  but  when  a  number  of  constables  and 
a  small  party  of  the  military  went  there  and  made  the  necessary 
search,  they  were  unsuccessful  in  finding  anything.  During  these 
proceedings,  the  streets  were  very  much  crowded  with  people,  some 
of  whom  treated  the  authorities  and  the  constables  accompanying 
them  with  the  utmost  disrespect.  On  one  occasion  the  miUtary 
were  ordered  to  clear  the  streets,  when  some  of  the  more  obstinate 
persons  were  put  into  the  Police  Office. 

When  the  first  of  April  came  round,  the  day  frequently  named 
for  the  threatened  rising  throughout  the  whole  country,  the  following 
revolutionary  and  seditious  address  was  extensively  posted  in  many 
places  in  the  town  : — 

"  Friends  and  countrymen, — Roused  from  that  torpid  state  in 
which  we  have  been  for  so  many  years,  we  are  at  length  compelled, 
from  the  extremity  of  our  sufferings  and  the  contempt  heaped  upon 
our  petitions  for  redress,  to  assert  our  rights  at  the  hazard  of  our 
lives,  and  proclaim  to  the  world  the  real  cause  which  (if  not  mis- 
represented by  designing  men,  would  have  united  all  ranks)  have 
induced  us  to  take  up  arms  for  the  redress  of  our  common 
grievances.  The  numerous  public  meetings  held  throughout  the 
country  have  demonstrated  to  you  that  the  interests  of  all  classes 
are  the  same  —  that  the  protection  of  the  life  and  property  of  the 
rich  man  is  the  interest  of  the  poor  man,  and  in  return  it  is 
the  interest  of  the  rich  to  protect  the  poor  from  the  iron  grasp 
of  despotism  ;  for  when  its  victims  are  exhausted  in  the  lower 
circles,  there  is  no  assurance  but  that  its  ravages  will  be  continued 
in  the  upper  ;  for  once  set  in  motion,  it  will  continue  till  a  succession 
of  victims  fall.  Our  principles  are  few,  and  founded  on  the  basis 
of  our  constitution,  which  was  purchased  by  the  dearest  blood  of 
our  forefathers,  and  which  we  swear  to  transmit  to  posterity  unsullied, 
or  perish  in  the  attempt.  Equality  of  rights  (not  of  property)  is  the 
object  for  which  we  contend,  and  which  we  consider  as  the  only 


iSoO    TILL    1S25.  193 

security  for  our  liberty  and  lives.  Let  us  show  to  the  world  that  we 
are  not  the  lawless,  sanguinary  rabble  which  our  oppressors  would 
persuade  the  higher  circles  we  are,  but  a  brave  and  generous  people 
determined  to  be  free.  Liberty  or  death  is  our  motto,  and  we  have 
sworn  to  return  triumphant  or  return  no  more  !  Soldiers  !  shall  you, 
countrymen,  bound  by  the  same  sacred  obligations  of  an  oath  to 
defend  our  King  and  country  from  enemies,  whether  foreign  or 
domestic,  plunge  bayonets  into  the  bosoms  of  fathers  and  brothers 
and  at  once  sacrifice,  at  the  shrine  of  military  despotism,  to  the  un- 
relenting orders  of  a  cruel  faction,  those  feelings  which  you  hold  in 
common  with  the  rest  of  mankind  ? 

"  Soldiers  !  turn  your  eyes  towards  Spain,  and  there  behold  the 
happy  effect  resulting  from  the  union  of  soldiers  and  citizens ! 
Look  at  that  quarter,  and  there  behold  the  yoke  of  hated  tyranny 
broke  by  the  unanimous  wish  of  the  people  and  soldiers,  happily 
accomplished  without  bloodshed ;  and  shall  you,  who  taught  those 
soldiers  to  fight  the  battles  of  liberty,  refuse  to  fight  those  of  your 
own  country  ?  Forbid  it,  heaven  !  Come  forward,  then,  at  once, 
and  free  your  country  and  your  King  from  the  power  of  those  who 
have  kept  them  too  long  in  thraldom  ! 

"  Friends  and  countrymen,  the  eventful  period  has  now  arrived 
when  the  services  of  all  will  be  required  for  the  forwarding  an  object 
so  universally  wished  and  so  absolutely  necessary.  Come  forward, 
then,  and  assist  those  who  have  begun  in  the  completion  of  so 
arduous  a  task,  and  support  the  laudable  efforts  which  we  are  about 
to  make  to  replace  to  Britons  those  rights  consecrated  to  them  by 
Magfia  Charta  and  the  Bill  of  Rights,  and  sweep  from  our  shores 
that  corruption  which  has  degraded  us  below  the  dignity  of  men. 
Owing  to  the  misrepresentations  which  have  gone  abroad  with 
regard  to  it,  we  think  it  indispensably  necessary  to  declare  inviolable 
all  public  and  private  property  ;  and  we  hereby  call  upon  all  Justices 
of  the  Peace,  and  all  others,  to  suppress  all  pillage  and  plunder  of 
every  description,  and  to  endeavour  to  secure  those  guilty  of  such 
offences  that  they  may  receive  that  punishment  which  such 
violation  of  justice  demands.  In  the  present  state  of  aftairs,  and 
during  the  continuance  of  so  momentous  a  struggle,  we  earnestly 
request  of  all  to  desist  from  their  labour  from  and  after  this  day,  the 
first  of  April,  and  attend  wholly  to  the  recovery  of  their  rights,  and 
to  consider  it  as  the  duty  of  every  man  not  to  recommence  until  he 
is  in  possession  of  those  rights  which  distinguish  the  free  man  from 
the  slave,  viz.,  that  of  giving  consent  to  the  laws  by  which  he  is  to 
be  governed.  We  therefore  recommend  to  the  proprietors  of 
public  works  and  all  others  to  stop  the  one  and  shut  up  the  other 
until  order  is  restored ;  as  we  will  be  accountable  for  no  disaster 
that  may  take  place,  and  which,  after  this  public  intimation,  they 
can  have  no  claim  to.  And  we  hereby  give  notice  to  all  those 
found  carrying  arms  against  those  who  intend  to  regenerate  this 
country  and  restore  its  inhabitants  to  their  native  dignity,  we  shall 
consider  them  as  traitors  to  their  country  and  enemies  to  their  King, 


194  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

and  treat  them  as  such.     By  order  of  the  Committee  for  forming  a 
Provisional  Government. 
"Glasgow,  I  St  April,  1820. 

"  Britons  !  God,  justice,  and  the  wishes  of  all  good  men  are  with 
us ;  join  together  and  make  it  one  cause,  and  the  nations  of  the 
earth  shall  hail  the  day  when  the  standard  of  Liberty  shall  be  reared 
on  its  native  soil." 

This  treasonable  address  was  printed  by  Robert  F.  Fulton  and 
John  Hutchison,  in  the  employment  of  Mr.  Duncan  Mackenzie, 
printer.  No.  20  Saltmarket,  Glasgow,  and  they  used  the  types  and 
printing-press  belonging  to  him  without  his  knowledge.  Fulton  and 
Hutchison  being  warned  by  their  friends  that  they  had  committed 
high  treason,  fled  from  this  country  to  the  United  States  of  America. 
The  Glasgow  authorities  offered  a  reward  of  ^^300  to  any  person 
"  who  will  give  such  information  as  shall  secure  the  apprehension 
of  Fulton  and  Hutchison."  R.  F.  Fulton  some  time  afterwards,  in 
a  letter  to  Mr.  William  Lang,  printer,  Glasgow,  gave  the  following 
interesting  information  regarding  the  printing  of  this  address, 
from  which  it  will  be  seen  that,  although  the  preparation  of  this 
treasonable  document  was  commenced  in  Glasgow,  it  was  ultimately 
completed  in  Paisley  : — 

"  The  first  time  I  ever  heard  anything  of  this  address  was  on 
Tuesday,  28th  March,  when  1  was  sent  for  through  the  means  of  a 
nephew  of  one  of  the  Provisional  Government,  whose  name  was 
Craig.  By  him  I  was  introduced  to  another  member  of  the  Provi- 
sional Government,  whose  name  was  Lees,  with  whom  I  made  an 
appointment  to  meet  at  the  corner  of  Ingram  Street,  opposite  the 
Royal  Bank ;  but  owing  to  the  Secret  Committee  taking  suspicion 
that  they  were  watched  by  the  local  authorities,  they  removed  from 
the  house  in  which  they  met  in  the  Saltmarket  to  Anderston,  from 
thence  to  Govan,  and  last  of  all  to  Paisley,  where  they  finally 
resolved  on  that  copy  of  the  address  which  was  printed.  By  the 
removal  to  Paisley,  Lees  could  not  meet  on  Wednesday  at  the  time 
and  place  appointed  with  me.  He  sent  for  me  again  on  the  Thurs- 
day, when  he  told  me  the  copy  was  transcribing,  and  at  the  same 
time  he  gave  me  ^i  3s.  to  purchase  paper,  and  he  requested  to 
meet  him  (Lees)  at  the  Cross  at  half-past  eight  o'clock  p.m.  After 
meeting  him  at  the  time  appointed,  we  adjourned  to  the  Globe 
Tavern,  in  the  Saltmarket,  where  I  received  the  copy,  which  he  had 
concealed  between  his  stockings  and  his  legs.  It  was  written  on  a 
form  something  like  a  law  paper,  and  had  much  the  appearance  of 
having  been  written  by  a  hand  which  had  been  much  accustomed 
with  writing.  I  can  positively  aftirm  that  there  was  not  a  single 
copy  thrown  off  by  us  before  Saturday  morning,  a  few  minutes  after 
twelve  o'clock  (at  night),  and  we  put  on  the  press  as  soon  as  it  was 
corrected.  We  had  the  best  half  of  them  ready  before  five  o'clock, 
and  about  seven  I  carried  all  that  was  thrown  off  to  the  house  of 
the  above-mentioned  Craig.     We  began  again  at  nine  o'clock  on 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  195 

Saturday  night,  and  had  them  all  off  before  twelve,  and  it  (the 
address)  was  distributed  immediately.  Lees  got  the  second  package 
in  the  office  at  midnight.  I  saw  him  in  about  half  an  hour  after- 
wards in  the  Globe  Tavern,  where  he  was  sitting  along  with  Craig 
and  Mrs.  Lees,  when  I  received  seventeen  shillings  in  cash,  and 
here  the  business  closed  with  us  concerning  the  address  "  (Exposure 
of  the  Spy  System,  by  Peter  M'Kenzie,  p.  80). 

The  first  of  April  was  on  Saturday,  and  this  revolutionary  placard, 
issued  by  the  would-be  provisional  government,  must  have  been 
posted  some  time  between  Saturday  night  and  Sunday  morning. 
We  shall  again  hear  what  Arthur  Sneddon,  who  was  on  the  spot  and 
an  actor  in  the  scene,  says  regarding  it : — • 

"It  was  well  known  that  the  first  day  of  April,  1820,  was  to  be 
the  starting  day  for  our  mighty  revolution  ;  and  for  the  five  days 
previous  the  greatest  activity  was  displayed  by  the  Radical  officials. 
Arms,  money,  and  all  requisites  for  a  coming  struggle  were  promised 
by  them,  and  it  was  the  belief  of  thousands  that  an  internecine  war 
was  at  hand.  But  alas  !  I  knew  better.  I  say  alas  !  for  what  was 
to  become  of  us?  On  Saturday,  the  first  of  April,  John  Neil  called 
upon  me.  He  was  one  of  our  chief  leaders,  and  had  been  our 
ambassador  to  Nottingham,  and  it  was  he  who  brought  home  the 
arrangement  whereby  we  in  Scotland  were  not  to  start  till  200,000 
were  up  in  arms  in  England.  A  few  days  after  he  came  home  I 
advised  him  to  put  all  his  writings  and  books  of  a  political  nature, 
such  as  Painc's  Jiig/its  of  Alan,  Cobbctfs  Register,  Voltaire,  and 
several  others  of  a  revolutionary  tendency,  out  of  the  house.  He 
had  a  visit  one  morning  from  the  police,  who  carried  off  a  pretty 
large  parcel,  and  conjecturing  he  had  not  taken  my  advice  I  went 
to  his  home  to  know  if  I  was  right.  It  appeared  he  had  removed 
nothing,  and  so  they  had  taken  all  the  treasonable  and  seditious 
documents  and  books  he  v/as  possessed  of  When  I  left  his  house 
and  came  out  to  the  street,  to  my  astonishment  all  was  in  an  uproar. 
A  crowd  had  collected  round  the  police,  and  were  pelting  the  poor 
officials  without  the  smallest  compunction.  At  length  the  police  got 
under  cover  and  the  mob  dispersed.  Next  forenoon  two  companies 
of  soldiers  marched  into  the  street  where  I  lived,  and  were  met  by 
an  equal  number  who  came  in  at  the  other;  and  when  they  formed 
into  line  opposite  my  door,  this  to  me  seemed  ominous,  as  matters 
were  in  such  a  state  one  did  not  know  what  would  come  next.  It 
was  not  long,  however,  till  things  appeared  in  their  true  colours ; 
for  the  Sheriff- Clerk  Depute  came  and  told  me  he  had  a  warrant  to 
arrest  me  for  being  engaged  in  the  riot  of  yesterday.  The  celebrated 
William  Motherwell  was  the  Depute  Sheriff-Clerk.  The  author  of 
'Jeanie  Morrison'  was  ill  calculated  for  work  of  this  kind."  Mr. 
Parkhill  and  another  young  man  were  taken  before  the  Fiscal,  and 
after  being  examined  were  dismissed.  "  The  purpose  of  John 
Neil's  visit  to  me,"  he  continues,  "  was  to  show  me  the  celebrated 
proclamation  issued  by  the  provisional  government.  I  read 
the    document,    which    was    exceedingly   well   drawn   up.      Next 


196  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

day  (Sabbath)  was  the  big,  the  important  day.  On  the  after- 
noon and  evening  a  more  than  usual  turnout  of  the  inhabitants 
might  be  noticed,  together  with  many  from  the  country.  There 
w^as  Httle  preparation  however  for  the  war,  further  than  a  few  of  the 
most  sanguine  carrying  an  old  pistol  or  a  gun  or  enquiring  if  there 
was  any  news  from  Glasgow.  After  nightfall,  the  cavalry  as  well  as 
the  infantry  were  much  engaged  in  showing  themselves  in  various 
parts  of  the  town,  preparatory  for  to-morrow's  struggle.  At  seven 
o'clock  in  the  morning  considerable  crowds  were  on  the  street — very 
dull,  however,  and  sombre  of  aspect.  By  the  middle  of  the  day  I 
met  occasionally  some  of  our  leaders,  and  on  enquiring  if  that 
portion  of  the  provisional  government  connected  with  Paisley  had 
met  or  was  likely  to  meet,  in  sullen  gloom  received  for  answer  that 
they  did  not  know.  About  two  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  I  had  a 
visit  from  a  friend  resident  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Dairy ;  he 
served  in  the  Foot  Guards  and  was  a  determined  Radical.  He 
came  in  expressly  to  see  how  we  were  coming  on.  I  told  him  my 
opinion  was  that  nothing  would  be  done  —  that  there  was  no 
provisional  government  in  existence,  and  that  there  would  not  be 
a  shot  fired.  He  was  mad  because  there  was  to  be  no  fighting.  It 
was  long  before  I  got  him  pacified.  Our  conversation  took  place 
in  the  '  Linn,'  a  noted  hostelrie  where  people  were  coming  and 
going  the  whole  day,  but  none  could  tell  what  was  to  be  done.^  In 
the  afternoon  I  was  led  to  understand  that  there  was  to  be  a  meet- 
ing on  Monday,  in  the  '  Smiddy,'  and  likewise  there  was  to  be  a 
search  for  arms  in  the  Stanely  Barony.-  It  was  also  agreed  that  a 
forge  for  making  pikes  should  be  established  in  the  Pinnel  Glen, 
near  Kilbarchan.     Monday  morning,  the  3rd  April,  came,  the  sun 

^  This  public-house,  the  rendezvous  of  the  West-End  Radicals,  was  the  comer 
house  in  Broomlands  at  the  south-east  end  of  King  Street,  now  the  site  of  the 
Free  Martyrs'  Church.  The  occupant  at  that  time  was  "Granny  Rowan."  It 
was  called  the  Linn  because  the  curlers  in  the  West-End  who  played  at  the 
"Heigh  Linn"  usually  met  there. 

*  During  the  night  or  early  on  the  Sunday,  a  flaming  proclamation  announc- 
ing the  rising  was  placarded  up  on  all  the  church  doors  in  town  and  country, 
stating  that  the  insurrection  was  to  begin  that  day  in  London  and  in  the  chief 
towns  of  England  and  Ireland,  and  calling  upon  the  Reformers  here  to  be  ready 
to  join  them,  threatening  instant  death  to  all  who  opposed  them.  On  that  Sunday 
morning  the  writer  of  this  could  not  understand  what  attraction  was  about  the 
church  gate.  He  saw  the  chiefs  of  Reform  in  motion,  hastening  to  the  gate  and 
looking  mighty  big  when  turning  away  from  it.  Understanding  that  the  cause 
of  this  excitement  was  the  proclamation  referred  to,  the  minister  preached  a 
sermon  from  the  following  text  : — "Put  them  in  mind  to  be  subject  to  princi- 
palities and  powers,  to  obey  magistrates,  to  be  ready  to  every  good  work,  to 
speak  evil  of  no  man,  to  be  no  brawlers  ;  but  gentle,  showing  all  meekness  unto 
all  men."  This  produced  the  happiest  consequences  in  the  parish.  Except  by 
the  musical  band,  a  few  wrong-headed  men  like  themselves,  the  operatives 
resolved  to  attend  their  work  as  usual.  To  their  honour  and  credit  be  it  told, 
they  did'  so  ;  and  it  was  very  remarkable  that  while  the  whole  works  of  the  same 
kind  in  Lanarkshire,  Dumbarton^hire,  Renfrewshire,  and  Ayrshire  stood  still 
that  week,  not  one  of  all  the  twenty-two  large  public  works  stood  idle  for  a 
moment  in  Neilston  Parish  (Fev,  Dr.  Fleming  in  the  Statistical  Account  of  Scot- 
land.    March,  iSjj.     Vol.  vii.  p.  324). 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  197 

shining  in  all  his  majesty.  The  streets  were  crowded  quite  early 
with  friends  and  foes.  The  military  were  also  on  the  alert,  and 
everything  promised  a  busy  day.  At  ten  o'clock  the  '  Smiddy ' 
filled  with  anxious  patriots,  and  I  observed  there  a  great  many 
working-men  who,  I  was  sure,  would  never  lift  a  pike  in  our  favour. 
A  chairman  was  chosen,  and  the  first  subject  discussed  was  the 
search  for  arms  in  the  Barony  of  Stanely.  A  motion  to  this  effect 
was  carried  unanimously.  The  powder  question  was  then  discussed, 
and  many  a  queer  observation  was  made,  it  being  fully  agreed  that 
twopence  halfpenny  worth  should  be  the  stock  of  ammunition  for 
each  individual.  A  good  deal  of  fun  was  sported  on  the  occasion, 
and  sly  winks  passed  plentifully  between  those  who  considered  the 
whole  matter  the  very  height  of  nonsense.  One  old  fellow,  his  face 
perfectly  black  with  indignation,  cried  out  at  the  top  of  his  voice, 
'  Behold  !  the  British  Government,  the  strongest  on  yerth,  is  to  be 
overturned  wi'  five  bawbees'  worth  o'  cheap  poother.'  It  was  then 
agreed  that  the  searchers  for  arms  should  meet  at  the  Braes  of 
Maxwelton  in  the  evening.  At  the  gloaming,  as  had  been  agreed 
upon,  a  numerous  body  met  at  Maxwelton  Hill  and  proceeded  to 
Stanely.  In  various  farm-houses  they  obtained  fire-arms,  some  of 
which  were  of  great  value.  Our  party  came  to  Foxbar  House,  the 
inmates  of  which  had  been  prepared,  and,  with  the  intention  of 
intimidating  the  assailants,  fired  their  pieces  into  the  air.  At  the 
same  time,  however,  shots  were  fired  from  a  neighbouring  plantation, 
by  which  a  young  lad  of  the  name  of  Cochran  was  shot  through  the 
heart.  It  was  a  singular  circumstance  that  the  shot  which  killed 
Cochran  passed  through  him  and  lodged  in  the  elbow-joint  of  a 
young  lad  of  the  name  of  M'Kechnie,  who  was  standing  beside 
him.  The  incidents  created  some  consternation  and  induced  a 
consultation.  One  party  was  for  breaking  into  the  house  and  taking 
vengeance  on  the  inmates,  while  another  was  clear  for  a  retreat. 
The  prudent  party  at  last  prevailed,  which  was  fortunate,  as  a  body 
of  cavalry  from  Paisley  were  within  three  minutes'  ride  of  Foxbar 
House  at  the  time.  Intelligence  of  the  dangerous  proximity  of  the 
horsemen  was  soon  conveyed  to  the  other  parties  scattered  in  the 
vicinity,  and,  favoured  by  the  darkness,  the  whole  body  got  safely 
home.  I  learned  to  my  sorrow  in  the  evening  that  a  man  had  been 
shot.  In  order  to  learn  who  it  was  I  went  over  to  the  '  Smiddy,' 
where  half-a-dozen  of  those  who  had  been  at  Foxbar  were  met. 
They  were  rather  hearty,  and  said  that,  so  far  as  they  had  learned, 
they  supposed  it  was  an  old  man  of  the  name  of  David  Wylie,  one 
of  the  most  detemiined  of  the  party,  vvho  had  fallen.  This  they 
thought  was  good,  as  he  had  no  relation  to  lament  his  loss.  The 
pike-making  expedition  took  place  on  the  same  evening,  and  the 
place  selected  was  the  Pinnel  Glen,  a  very  picturesque  scene  about 
a  mile  north  of  Kilbarchan.  Some  carried  iron,  others  hammers, 
and  others  tools ;  one  stout  fellow  had  the  large  bellows  and  two 
had  the  heavy  anvil.  After  passing  Millarston  they  fancied  they 
heard  the  sound  of  approaching  cavalry,  and  the  whole  party  made 


198  •    HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

a  detour  to  the  north,  and  crossed  Alt-Patrick  Burn  a  little  below 
Elderslie  Bridge,  and  from  thence  reached  Kilbarchan  in  safety. 
By  this  time  it  was  the  '  noon  of  night.'  The  signal  to  be  given  by 
the  Paisley  party  that  they  had  arrived  was  to  beat  on  the  streets 
with  their  sticks.  They  accordingly  rattled  away  till  they  were 
tired ;  but  as  not  a  living  soul  appeared  they  began  to  make  a  care- 
ful scrutiny,  but  found  there  was  not  a  light  to  be  seen  in  the  whole 
village.  Every  person  in  the  village  seemed  to  be  asleep.  Of 
course  this  most  spirited  party  had  to  return  to  Paisley  heart-broken 
at  the  apathy  of  the  Kilbarchan  section  of  Reformers.  I  was  of 
opinion  that  the  Kilbarchan  people  had  begun  to  see  the  folly  of 
the  whole  matter,  and,  being  a  shrewd  set  of  villagers,  had  cut  the 
connection.  Tuesday,  the  4th  of  April,  was  rather  a  stormy  day, 
and  rain  fell  during  a  great  portion  of  it.  There  was  much  dulness 
manifested.  Some  talked  of  Glasgow  being  up,  but  belief  in  these 
things  was  getting  narrowed  every  day.  The  cotton  mills  in  and 
around  Johnstone  were  stopped,  and  the  military,  along  with  the 
police,  were  paying  visits  to  the  suspected  insurgents.  Mr.  Mother- 
well, accompanied  by  soldiers  and  constables,  paid  my  house  an 
uninvited  visit  in  the  afternoon.  After  ransacking  the  house  in 
every  corner  for  pikes  and  seditious  papers,  and  finding  none,  he 
asked  my  wife  if  she  had  any  pikes  or  guns.  She  said  she  had 
nothing  but  a  pretty  long  spear.  Mr.  Motherwell  very  civilly  asked 
a  sight  of  the  spear ;  and  on  its  turning  out  that  her  name  and  that 
of  the  warlike  weapon  were  the  same,  the  poet  turned  on  his  heel, 
and  laughingly  enquired  what  had  become  of  her  husband.  Of  him 
she  could  say  nothing,  so  the  author  of  "  Bonnie  Jeanie  Morrison  " 
went  away.  When  I  came  home  in  about  an  hour  afterwards  I  was 
informed  of  what  had  taken  place,  on  which  we  came  to  the  con- 
clusion that  in  the  meantime  I  had  no  home,  and  that  the  future 
was  singularly  dark  and  gloomy.  What  to  do  in  the  circumstances, 
melancholy  to  say,  we  could  not  tell.  Although  I  had  committed 
no  overt  acts,  the  Government  which  we  had  to  contend  with,  we 
knew  well,  would  stick  at  nothing ;  and  I  had  perhaps  done  sufficient 
to  provoke  their  wrath,  and  of  course  enable  them  to  make  an 
example  of  me  ;  and  the  punishment  even  though  short  of  hanging 
might  be  terribly  severe.  I  began  now  to  feel  my  wounds,  and  no 
human  being  could  feel  them  more  severely.  I  found  that  in  the 
full  possession  of  my  senses  I  had  been  a  most  egregious  fool,  and 
that  very  folly  was  to  lead  to  the  dismembering  of  my  family.  For 
the  time  being  I  had  to  sleep  where  best  I  could. "^ 

"Arthur  Sneddon,"  who  was  a  leading  actor  in  Paisley  in  the 
Radical  rising  of  1819-20,  has  told  us  a  good  deal  about  that 
eventful  period ;  and  he  is  almost  the  only  one  among  those  who 

^  Autobiograpliy,  p.  94. — After  wandering  about  the  country,  under  hiding, 
for  some  time,  he  sailed  for  Montreal.  He  remained  fourteen  months  in 
America.  Leaving  New  York  on  20th  August,  he  landed  at  Liverpool  twenty- 
one  days  thereafter.  On  coming  to  Paisley,  as  trade  had  improved,  he  at  once 
obtained  work. 


l8oO    TILL    1825.  199 

were  so  engaged  that  has  done  so.  A\'e  are  thankful  for  it ;  but  he 
might  have  suppUed  more  information  about  what  took  place  at  the 
meetings  in  the  "Smiddy"  and  at  the  "Linn,"  where,  no  doubt,  as 
elsewhere,  the  plotters  discussed,  among  other  matters,  whose 
estates  in  the  neighbourhood  should,  on  the  overthrow  of  the 
government,  be  taken  possession  of,  and  by  what  leaders  of  their 
party.  The  aim  of  his  narrative  is  to  throw  ridicule,  to  some  extent, 
on  the  actings  of  the  Radicals.  He  also  wishes  his  readers  to 
believe  that  their  proceedings  were  fooUsh,  and  that  he  told  them 
so,  and  therefore  kept  aloof  from  them.  If  he  had  done  no  more 
than  what  he  informs  us,  there  would  have  been  no  occasion  for 
him  to  fly  from  the  country.  While  several  who  were  involved  in 
this  revolutionary  movement  afterwards  spoke  in  similar  terms,  the 
great  majority  held  that  they  were  entrapped  into  it  by  the 
emissaries  ^  employed  by  the  government.  John  Parkhill,  however, 
never  hints  at  such  a  thing,  but  on  the  contrary  states  —  referring 
to  the  meetings  of  the  Radicals  in  that  period  —  that  "from  the 
commencement  till  the  time  it  was  broken  up  it  is  perfectly  evident 
there  never  was  a  spy  among  them."  - 

On  Monday,  3rd  April,  a  firm  and  intelligible  proclamation, 
of  which  the  following  is  a  copy,  was  extensively  published  through- 
out the  town  by  means  of  large  handbills  by  the  local  authorities  : — 

"  Proclamation  by  the  Lord -Lieutenant  and  the  Sheriff  of  Ren- 
frewshire, and  Provost  and  Magistrates  of  Paisley. — Informa- 
tion having  been  received  which  renders  it  necessary  to  adopt 
immediate  precaution  for  preventing  and  suppressing  riot  and 
disturbance  in  the  town  of  Paisley  and  its  neighbourhood,  and 
for  bringing  to  justice  the  persons  who  may  be  found  concerned 
therein,  the  Lord- Lieutenant  and  Magistracy  deem  it  proper 
to  issue  the  following  orders  (and  in  doing  so  they  have  to 
express  their  anxiety  to  prevent  the  sacrifice  of  innocent  lives, 
while  they  declare  their  determination  at  all  hazards  to  pre- 
serve the  peace  and  maintain  the  authority  of  the  laws) : — ist. 
Upon  the  alarm-bell  being  struck,  all  well-disposed  persons 
who  are  not  called  upon  to  aid  the  civil  power  will  retire  to 
their  houses,  and  protect  themselves  and  their  property  as  they 
best  can.  2nd.  All  persons  not  called  upon  as  aforesaid  shall 
keep  their  houses  after  seven  o'clock  in  the  evening  until 
further  notice.  3rd.  In  case  of  tumult  happening  after  dark, 
all  well-disposed  persons  will  put  lights  in  their  upper  windows, 
secure  the  lower,  and  retire  to  the  back  part  of  their  lodgings. 
4th.  It  is  earnestly  enjoined  that  all  well-disposed  people  will 
avoid  standing  in  closes,  as  these,  in  the  event  of  disturbance, 
will  be  cleared  by  military  force,  without  distinction  of  persons, 

1  See  Exposure  of  the  Spy  System  duruig  the  years  1816  to  1820,  by  a  Ten 
Pounder  (Peter  M'Kenzie),  1832;  also  Metnoir  of  John  Fraser,  Neii<field;  also 
Radical  Rising  in  Strathaven,  by  John  Stevenson. 

-  History  of  Paisley,  by  John  Parkhill,  p.  45. 


200  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

5th.  In  case  of  any  injury  being  offered  to  the  civil  or  military 
force  from  houses  or  otherwise,  warning  is  hereby  given  that 
such  injury  will   be   retaliated   on   the   spot.      6th.  Tavern- 
keepers  will  be  careful  who  they  admit  into  their  houses  ;  and 
in  case  of  tumult  will  allow  no  company  to  remain  in  their  houses, 
unless  such  persons  as  they  shall  be  accountable  for ;  and  no 
person  whatever  to  be  harboured  by  them  after  seven  o'clock 
in  the  evening  till  farther  notice. — Paisley,  3rd  April,  1820." 
On  that  day  the  streets  were  thronged  to  an  excessive  degree. 
In  obedience  to  the  command  of  the  Committee  for  the  Organisa- 
tion of  a  Provisional  Government,  almost  all  the  labouring  popula- 
tion abandoned  their  work  ;  and  where  any  remained,  they  were 
soon  either  compelled  to  desist  by  their  companions,  or  dismissed 
by  their  masters  because  of  the  threats  made  against  them  if  they 
allowed  any  to  remain  at  work.     This  was  done  openly  by  large 
bodies  of  men.     Labourers  at  ordinary  occupations  were  compelled 
to  give  up  work  and  swell  the  crowd.     An  agent  of  the  Provisional 
Government  had  the  audacity  to  go  into  a  printer's  office  where 
the  workmen   were  throwing   off  the  proclamations   of  the   civil 
authorities,  and  there,  in  the  name  of  that  Provisional  Government, 
commanded  them  to  desist  at  their  peril.     The  proclamations  of 
the  Magistrates  were  also  audaciously  torn  down,  even  in  the  pre- 
sence of  the  military.     The  treatment  of  the  military,  including  the 
yeomen,  was  on  every  occasion  most  disgraceful  and  brutal,  and 
the  insults  they  suffered  are  almost  beyond  belief.     But  the  forbear- 
ance and  moderation  of  these  brave  men,  even  in  situations  where 
their  lives  were  in  danger,  were  most  honourable  to  them.^ 

^  The  following  song  was  written  at  that  time  bya  local  poet,  Mr.  John  Goldie : — 

"  What  think  ye  o'  our  Paisley  wabsters  sae  smart, 
Wha  bauldly  resolv'd  wi'  their  shuttles  to  part 

For  a  sharp  pike  and  a  Radical  cleg  ; 
Wha  vow'd  that  the  patriots  should  be  crusht, 
An'  the  altar  o'  loyalty  levell'd  in  dust  ; 
That  nae  mair  wi'  their  heddles  an'  treddles  they'd  toil, 
But  salute  a'  their  faes,  on  the  first  o'  April, 

Wi'  a  sharp  pike  an'  a  Radical  cleg. 
"  A  foragin'  party  ae  e'ening  was  sent 
On  murder  an'  plunder  an'  robbery  bent, 

Wi'  their  sharp  pikes,  &c. 
.Some  twa-three  auld  pistols  an'  gims  they  had  got, 
But  the  Radicals  wanted  baith  pouther  and  shot  ; 
For  without  them  they  cou'dna  weel  keep  up  the  war, 
But,  gude  faith,  they  got  plenty  o'  baith  at  Foxbar, 

Wi'  their  sharp  pikes,  &c. 
"  At  length  the  lang-leukit-for  morning  cam'  roun'. 
When  their  hosts  should  assemble  in  country  an'  toun, 

Wi'  their  sharp  pikes,  &c. 
When  they  vow'd  that  such  valorous  deeds  should  be  done, 
What  battles  they'd  fight,  an'  what  fiel's  they  wad  win  ; 
But  they  countit  their  chickens  afore  they  were  hatch'd, 
An'  they  guttit  their  haddocks  afore  they  were  catch'd, 

Wi'  their  sharp  pikes,  &C. 


l800    TILL    1825.  201 

At  this  critical  juncture  the  civil  authorities  in  Glasgow  and 
Paisley  resolved  to  put  down  this  threatened  rebellion  at  once  by 
force  of  arms.  All  the  available  troops  in  Scotland,  along  with  a 
large  force  of  yeomanry  cavalry,  were  assembled  in  Glasgow  and 
Paisley.  As  comparative  quietness  prevailed  in  the  county  of  Ayr, 
three  troops  of  the  second  regiment  of  the  patriotic  and  loyal  yeo- 
men of  Ayrshire  were  sent  to  Glasgow  on  Monday,  the  3rd  of  April ; 
on  the  same  day  two  troops  of  the  first  regiment,  under  Major  Craw- 
ford, were  sent  to  Paisley ;  and  the  remaining  three  troops  of  the 
united  Ayrshire  corps  remained  at  Ayr.  The  march  of  these  troops 
to  Paisley  and  Glasgow  caused  "  much  excitement  among  the 
country  villagers  along  the  line  of  route,  and  a  considerable  amount 
of  unnecessary  sympathy  was  expended  upon  the  poor  yeomen  who 
were  going,  according  to  the  popular  belief,  to  be  skivered  by  the 
pikemen  of  Glasgow  and  Paisley.  The  two  troops  of  the  first  regi- 
ment reached  Paisley  about  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  and  they 
appear  to  have  received  some  delicate  attentions  from  the  mob  on 
their  arrival.  One  of  the  yeomen,  who  on  his  entrance  into  the 
town  had  stated  to  his  ofiticer  that  he  did  not  like  the  idea  of  a 
reticontre  with  an  unarmed  mob,  seems  to  have  undergone  a  change 
of  sentiments  ;  for  on  the  officer  taking  notice  of  the  matter  in  the 
evening  before  the  troop,  the  individual  in  question  replied,  '  I'm 
no  that  man  noo,  for  I've  got  a  brick  on  the  side  of  my  head 
and  anither  on  my  shouther,  and  I'm  ready  to  gie  them  twa 
for't'  "1 

When  this  veteran  battalion  arrived  at  Paisley  wearied  with  their 
long  march  from  Ayr,  the  crowd  were  heard  to  observe,  "  There  are 
three  hundred  muskets  for  us."  Orders  were  issued  by  the  leaders 
of  the  Radicals  that  all  should  provide  themselves  with  cartridges 
in  the  event  of  their  procuring  muskets.  On  the  Saturday  of  the 
posting -up  of  the  rebellious  address,  weavers  were  known  to  cut  the 
webs  from  their  looms,  lock  up  their  shops,  and  declare  they  would 
work  no  more.  The  ordinary  business  of  life  was  in  a  manner  sus- 
pended.    Bank-notes,  they  were  heard  to  state,  would  soon  be  of 

"  For  their  courage  grew  caiild  when  it  cam'  to  the  bit, 
An'  the  puir  bodies  thocht  it  was  time  to  flit, 

Wi'  their  sharp  pikes,  &c. 
Their  orator  leaders  turn'd  out  rather  shy, 
An'  they  thocht  it  was  best  to  let  sleepin'  dogs  lie  ; 
For  they  didna'  much  relish  the  leuks  o'  the  chiels 
Wha  were  ready  to  scatter  some  Wellington  pills 

'Mang  their  sharp  pikes,  &c. 
"  Success  to  each  Briton  who  fearlessly  rose 
To  defend  Freedom's  birthplace  frae  rebels  an'  foes, 

Wi'  their  sharp  pikes,  &c. 
May  they  ne'er  lose  the  freedom  they  rose  to  defend, 
May  peace  and  content  spread  their  wings  o'er  the  land, 
An'  may  ilk  trait'rous  chiel  wha  rebellion  wad  breed 
Get  a  prog  in  the  guts  an'  a  skelp  on  the  head 

Wi'  a  sharp  pike  an  a  Radical  cleg." 

^  History  of  the  Ayrshire  Yeomanry  Cavalry,  by  W.  S.  Cooper. 
O 


202  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

no  value  ;  but  they  had,  they  stated,  thrown  off  notes  of  their  own 
to  issue  in  payment  of  what  they  might  require.  Mr.  Cooper,  in 
his  excellent  history  of  the  Ayrshire  yeomanry,  states  that  the  first 
regiment  while  in  Paisley  "  had  also  an  opportunity  of  studying  the 
natural  history  of  clegs,  many  fine  specimens  of  which  were  to  be 
found  there.  Once  while  marching  through  the  town,  a  member  of 
the  mob  threw  one  into  the  middle  of  the  Ayr  troop,  whereupon 
Sergeant  Cameron,  who  did  not  approve  of  such  insects,  galloped 
after  the  offender,  pursued  him  through  a  passage  and  across  several 
gardens,  and  eventually  secured  and  brought  him  back  in  triumph 
by  the  skruff  of  the  neck"  (History  of  the  Ayrshire  Yeomafiry 
Cavalry^  by  W.  S.  Cooper,  p.  19). 

The  small  town  of  Port-Glasgow,  containing  only  about  3000 
inhabitants,  brought  forward  one  hundred  and  twenty  volunteers  at 
a  call  in  defence  of  their  country.  They  cheerfully  marched  to 
Paisley  at  a  moment's  notice,  and  were  stationed  there  during  the 
week  of  excitement  and  alarm.  With  others,  they  submitted  to 
the  insults  and  provocations  of  the  Radicals  there  without  retalia- 
tion. 

In  some  other  places  the  demonstrations  of  the  Radicals  were 
even  more  offensive  and  violent  than  they  were  in  Paisley.  Early 
on  Wednesday  morning  a  party  marched  from  Glasgow  towards 
Falkirk,  in  the  neighbourhood  of  which  place  they  expected  to  meet 
with  friends  assembled  from  all  parts  of  the  surrounding  country. 
With  this  force  they  intended  to  attack  the  works  of  the  Carron 
Iron  Company,  where  they  gave  out  they  had  a  number  of  friends, 
from  whom  they  expected  aid  in  obtaining  cannon  to  assist  them  in 
their  future  operations.  On  their  way  thither  they  called  at  Castle- 
cary,  and  for  some  refreshments  they  received  tendered  a  Radical 
note,  which  the  landlord  refused.  At  last  they  paid  him  in  silver. 
This  Radical  force,  about  fifty  in  number,  not  meeting  with  the 
support  they  expected,  were  overtaken  in  Bonnymuir  by  a  detach- 
ment of  about  twenty  men  of  the  i  oth  Hussars  and  Kilsyth  Yeo- 
manry, commanded  by  Lieutenant  Hodgson  and  Lieutenant  David- 
son. According  to  the  report  of  Lieutenant  Hodgson  to  General 
Graham  at  Stirling  Castle,  they  "  found  the  rebels  with  arms  in 
their  hands  on  a  rising  ground,  the  base  of  which  was  skirted  by  a 
stone  wall,  through  which  there  was  only  one  opening  affording 
access  to  the  position  taken  up  by  the  Radicals.  Lieutenant 
Hodgson  immediately  led  his  men  to  this  gap  ;  but  before  he 
reached  it  the  insurgents  descended  the  slope  with  a  cheer,  and 
posted  themselves  in  such  a  manner  as  to  oppose  the  passage  of  the 
gap.  In  forcing  his  way  through  the  lieutenant  received  a  severe 
wound  in  the  hand  from  a  pike,  and  his  sergeant,  who  followed 
him,  was  also  severely  wounded  in  the  arm  ;  and  some  of  the 
cavalry  horses  were  severely  injured  or  killed.  After  the  cavalry 
passed  fairly  through  the  gap,  all  resistance  was  soon  at  an  end. 
Such  of  the  insurgents  as  could  make  their  escape  did  so,  and  the 
others  threw  down  their  arms  and  surrendered.     A  few  of  the  men 


l8oO   TILL    1825.  203 

who  were  taken  had  suffered  from  the  swords  of  the  cavalry."^  The 
prisoners  taken,  amounting  to  nineteen,  were  all  tried  for  high 
treason  ;  and  being  convicted,  were  sentenced  to  be  hanged  and 
beheaded,  but  only  two  of  them  suffered  the  extreme  penalty 
(Andrew  Hardie  and  John  Baird-),  the  others  having  their  sen- 
tence commuted  to  transportation  for  life. 

To  keep  up  the  spirits  of  their  followers  in  Glasgow,  the  leaders 
of  the  Radicals  circulated  a  report  that  the  troops  had  been  de- 
feated. This  delusion,  however,  was  soon  dispelled ;  but  the 
leaders  had  gone  too  far  to  draw  back.  They  circulated  numerous 
stories  stating  that  the  force  to  assemble  against  Glasgow  exceeded 
80,000  men.  French  vessels  were  said  to  have  landed  arms  and 
money  in  Ayrshire.  The  military  were  represented  as  favourable 
to  their  cause,  and  many  of  the  nobility  and  leading  men  were 
alleged  secretly  to  favour  their  plans.  Towards  the  evening  on 
Wednesday  they  began  openly  to  muster  in  the  suburbs,  preparatory 
to  uniting  their  forces  for  attempting  the  general  assault.  From  400 
to  600  openly  paraded  in  the  suburbs  of  Bridgeton  and  Calton,  with 
drum  and  colours,  and  armed  with  muskets,  pistols,  and  pikes.  Some 
armed  men  also  proceeded  to  Rutherglen  with  drum  and  flag, 
beating  "  to  arms,"  and  calling  to  their  friends  there  to  come  forward 
in  the  glorious  cause.  The  early  part  of  the  night,  however,  was 
unusually  wet  and  dark,  and  this  tended  to  cool  the  ardour  of  many 
of  them.  Cathkin  Hill  was  appointed  as  the  general  rendezvous 
for  all  the  forces  downwards  from  Strathaven  and  from  the  country 
to  the  south-west  and  westward.  The  Strathaven  division  openly 
and  very  boldly  set  out  from  that  village  to  the  place  of  appoint- 
ment. Their  flag  bore  the  inscription,  "Strathaven  —  Liberty  or 
Death."  They  reached  the  woods  of  Cathkin — -where  powder  and 
arms  were  afterwards  discovered  —  but  they  were  the  only  division 
that  assembled  there  out  of  the  many  thousands  that  were  expected. 
After  waiting  some  time,  they  returned  home.^     The  Radicals  find- 

^  Memoirs  of  General  Graham,  edited  by  his  son,  Col.  James  J.  Graham,  p.  283. 
General  Graham  was,  so  states  this  memoir,  "the  son  of  Mr.  John  Graham 
and  Euphanel  Stenson,  his  wife  ;  was  born  at  Paisley  on  the  20th  May,  1756  ;" 
and  "  received  the  rudiments  of  his  education  at  the  Paisley  Grammar  School." 

2  The  admirers  of  Hardie,  Baird,  and  Wilson  collected  in  1861  sufficient  funds 
to  purchase  ground  in  the  Paisley  Cemetery  and  to  erect  a  monument  therein  to 
their  memory.  On  14th  October  in  that  year,  the  Town  Council,  at  the  request 
of  a  committee  of  the  subscribers,  "  agreed  to  accept  of  the  transfer,_  and  to  take 
charge  of  the  ground  and  monument  in  trust  for  behoof  of  the  inhabitants. " 

3  Mr.  John  Goldie,  in  his  humorous  and  clever  song  of  "  Radical  Bodies,  Gae 
Hame,"  thus  refers  to  this  expedition  of  the  Strathaven  Radicals  to  the  Cathkin 
Braes  to  join  their  brethren  in  the  attempt  to  overthrow  the  British  Government  :— 

"  On  Cathkin  your  camp  was  nae  doubt  rather  damp, 
An'  when  it  began  to  rain  —  to  rain, 
To  keep  yersel's  warm  frae  the  wat  an'  the  storm, 
Ye  wei-e  wise  just  to  step  awa'  hame  —  hame  —  hame. 
The  cavalry's  comin,'  gae  hame  —  gae  hame, 
In  case  you  should  get  yoursel'  lame  —  lame  — lame  ; 
For  I'll  wad  a  groat,  if  ye  slocken  a  shot, 
Ye'U  think  ye'd  been  better  at  hame  —  at  hame. 
For  the  remainder,  see  Poems  and  Songs,  by  John  Goldie,  p.  105. 


204  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

ing  in  Glasgow  the  military  prepared  at  every  point,  and  their  own 
numbers  small  in  comparison,  abandoned  their  plan  in  despair, 
threw  away  or  hid  their  arms,  and  dispersed  in  every  direction. 
Many  of  their  pikes  were  picked  up  next  morning,  and  many  were 
thrown  into  the  canal  and  river. 

The  Magistrates  of  Glasgow  offered  a  reward  of  ;^3oo  to  anyone 
who  would  lead  to  the  discovery  of  the  person  who  printed  the 
seditious  address  that  was  issued  on  the  first  of  April. 

During  that  week  there  were  gatherings  of  the  Radicals  and  dis- 
turbances by  them  at  many  other  places  throughout  the  country. 
But  by  the  end  of  the  week  the  revolutionary  spirit  was  suppressed  ; 
Paisley  had  almost  attained  its  former  tranquillity ;  and  the  great 
body  of  the  workmen,  except  those  engaged  in  the  cotton  work,  had 
resumed  their  labour.  Many  persons,  however,  were  apprehended, 
charged  with  the  distribution  of  seditious  placards  and  the  holding 
of  arms.  On  the  7th  April  the  Magistrates  deemed  it  necessary  to 
make  a  general  search  for  arms,  pikes,  &c.,  and  also  to  apprehend 
suspected  persons.  In  the  streets  they  visited,  crowds  of  people 
collected,  and  the  constables  had  to  be  assisted  by  the  military,  who 
at  this  time  were  about  1000  strong.  A  fatal  accident  occurred  at 
the  head  of  Lady  Lane.  The  soldiers  were  repeatedly  employed  in 
driving  back  the  multitude.  Numbers  received  bayonet  wounds, 
even  very  severe  ones  ;  and  an  old  man  of  the  name  of  Campbell 
was  so  much  injured  that  he  died  in  a  very  short  time  afterwards. 

On  the  8th  of  April,  King  George  IV.  issued  a  proclamation 
offering  a  reward  of  ^500  to  any  person  giving  such  information  as 
would  lead  to  the  discovery  of  the  authors  and  printers  of  the 
treasonable  paper  distributed  on  the  first  day  of  April. 

The  presence  of  the  yeomanry  cavalry  from  Ayrshire  and  the 
volunteers  from  Port -Glasgow  being  no  longer  required  in  Paisley, 
they  were,  with  the  thanks  of  the  Lord -Lieutenant  for  their  good 
conduct,  directed  to  return  to  their  respective  homes.  In  con- 
sequence of  the  crowded  state  of  Paisley  Prison,  five  prisoners  were 
sent  on  8th  April  to  Greenock  Jail  escorted  by  the  Port- Glasgow 
volunteers.  A  considerable  crowd  had  collected  on  the  arrival  of 
the  prisoners,  but  no  disposition  was  shown  to  annoy  the  military 
in  the  execution  of  their  duty  till  they  were  about  to  return,  when 
some  stones  were  wantonly  thrown  among  them.  As  the  volunteers 
repassed  through  the  town,  more  stones  were  thrown,  and  they 
fired  their  pieces  at  the  assailants,  when  two  persons  were  wounded. 
Instead  of  the  attacks  of  the  crowd  becoming  less,  they  became 
more  frequent,  and  many  of  the  volunteers  were  wounded.  A  sort 
of  running  fight  ensued  till  they  were  almost  clear  of  the  town.  In 
this  encounter  six  were  killed  and  fifteen  severely  wounded.  In 
the  evening  a  crowd  collected  at  the  square  —  there  being  no 
military  to  restrain  them  —  when  they  broke  open  the  outer  gate, 
forced  the  inner  doors  of  the  jail,  and  succeeded  in  liberating 
the  five  men  brought  from  Paisley.  The  other  prisoners  were 
allowed  to  remain. 


l8cO    TILL    1825.  205 

The  following  is  a  copy  of  a  proclamation  that  was  issued  that 
evening  : — 

"  Proclamation  by  the  Magistrates  of  Greenock,  Sheriff  of  Renfrew- 
shire, and  Justices  of  the  Peace. — Whereas,  in  consequence  of 
the  outrageous  assault  made  this  evening  on  the  Prison  of 
Greenock,  and  the  rescue  therefrom  of  five  prisoners  confined 
on  a  charge  of  high  treason,  the  Magistrates  have  deemed  it 
their  duty  to  call  in  a  strong  military  force  for  the  security  of 
the  town ;  and  they  solemnly  warn  the  inhabitants  to  avoid  all 
breaches  of  the  peace  and  all  molestation  or  insult  of  the 
military,    who   have   positive    orders   from   the    highest   civil 
authority  in  Scotland  to  act  instantly  in  self-defence  in  case  of 
receiving  personal  insult :  All  persons  therefore  who  presume 
to  molest  the  military  have  themselves  alone  to  blame  for  the 
consequences  that  may  ensue.     A  reward  of  fifty  guineas  is 
hereby  offered  by  the  Magistrates  of  Greenock  to  any  person 
who  will  give  such  information  as  will  lead  to  the  conviction  of 
the  persons  guilty  of  the  foresaid  assault  and  rescue. — Council 
Chambers,  Greenock,  8th  April,  1820." 
Many  of  the  Radicals  in  Paisley  in  endeavouring  to  keep  out  of  the 
hands  of  the  authorities  made  some  very  narrow  escapes.  John  Dickie 
was  an  active  leader  among  them,  and  as  he  frequently  conducted 
their  correspondence,  may  be  said  to  have  been  one  of  their  secre- 
taries.    A  warrant  was  issued  to  apprehend  him  and  to  search  his 
house.     As  the  officers  were  on  the  stair  leading  to  the  house,  some- 
one having  informed  his  wife  of  their  approach,  she  seized  his  papers 
and  thrust  them  into  the  kettle,   then  on  the  fire.     The  officers 
never  thought  of  looking  there,  and  had  to  go  away  without  obtain- 
ing anything  of  importance.     She  immediately  thereafter  destroyed 
the  papers. 

On  6th  June,  Mr.  Maxwell,  M.P.,  presented  a  petition  to  the 
House  of  Commons  from  distressed  persons  within  the  town  of 
Paisley  to  afford  them  means  to  emigrate  to  Canada. 

A  Special  Commission  of  Oyer  and  Terminer  was  appointed  by 
the  King  for  trying  those  charged  with  high  treason  in  Scotland,  and 
courts  were  held  at  Stirling,  Glasgow,  Paisley,  and  Ayr.  The 
Special  Commission  in  coming  to  Paisley  went  on  board  of  a 
steam  vessel  at  Dumbarton,  having  come  that  way  from  StirUng, 
and  landed  at  Renfrew,  where  they  were  met  by  the  authori- 
ties from  Paisley,  and  conveyed  to  the  Tontine  Hotel,  escorted 
by  a  detachment  of  hussars.  On  ist  July  their  lordships  and 
attendants  went  to  St.  George's  Church,  where  the  trials  were 
to  take  place,  followed  by  a  great  crowd.  The  doors  were  guarded 
by  the  police.  Half-an-hour  before  the  judges  took  their  seats, 
the  doors  were  thrown  open  for  the  indiscriminate  admission  of  the 
public  to  the  lower  part  of  the  church,  and  no  one  was  kept  out 
while  there  was  sitting-room,  but  none  were  allowed  to  stand  in 
the  passages.     The  admission  to  the  galleries  was  by  ticket.     The 


206  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

judges  were  the  Lord  President,  Lord  Justice  Clerk,  and  Lord 
Chief  Commissioner.  The  Lord  President  dehvered  the  charge  to 
the  Grand  Jury.  The  court  retired  for  an  hour  and  a-half,  and 
returned  with  true  bills  against  James  Speirs,  weaver,  Johnstone ; 
John  Lang,  weaver,  Kilbarchan  ;  John  SmelHe,  weaver,  Elderslie  ; 
James  Walker,  weaver,  Johnstone  ;  Robert  Parker,  shoemaker, 
Johnstone ;  James  Nixon,  weaver,  P^lderslie  ;  and  John  Young,  as 
guilty  of  high  treason.  The  first  two  were  indicted  ;  the  last  five  were 
not  in  custody.  The  prisoners  named  Francis  Jeffrey  and  J.  P. 
Grant,  advocates,  as  their  counsel ;  and  Messrs.  P.  &  J.  Jack,  writers. 
Paisley,  as  their  agents.  The  court  fixed  that  the  prisoners  should 
be  arraigned  on  the  22nd  July,  and  their  trial  take  place  a  few 
days  afterwards.  The  Rev.  J.  Finlay  officiated  as  chaplain,  and 
offered  up  a  most  appropriate  prayer  at  the  opening  of  the  court. 
Their  lordships'  carriages  were  escorted  back  to  the  Tontine  Inn  by 
a  party  of  the  hussars  and  the  Paisley  Rifle  Corps.  The  duty  of 
guarding  them  afterwards  devolved  upon  the  13th  Regiment,  whose 
guard-house  was  immediately  behind  the  inn.  The  crowd  which 
followed  the  Commission  gathered  round  the  door  and  pressed  upon 
the  military.  While  the  soldiers  were  driving  back  the  people,  one 
man  who  lived  at  Elderslie  received  a  slight  stab  in  the  arm,  and  a 
young  man  of  the  name  of  Logic  was  cut  severely  in  the  head  with 
a  halbert.  The  indignation  of  the  crowd  was  immediately  directed 
against  the  sergeant.  Observing  this  ferment,  the  sergeant  ordered 
a  fresh  relief  from  the  guards,  and  set  down  his  halbert.  Provost 
Jamieson,  who  was  present,  at  once  made  an  enquiry  into  the  charge 
of  harshness,  the  result  being  that  the  sergeant  was  sent  to  the 
Police  Office.  Afterwards  the  soldiers  at  the  door  were  ordered  to 
remove  their  bayonets  from  their  muskets,  and  in  that  condition 
they  did  duty  during  the  time  their  lordships  remained  in  town. 
On  the  22nd  the  indictment  was  read  before  the  judges  to  the 
prisoners,  who  pleaded  not  guilty.  The  court  informed  them  that 
they  must  be  prepared  to  take  their  trial  on  Tuesday,  the  ist  of 
August,  to  which  day  the  court  adjourned.  On  that  day  there  were 
present  the  Lord  President,  Lord  Justice  Clerk,  Lord  Pitmilly,  and 
the  Lord  Chief  Baron.  The  counsel  for  the  Crown  were  the  Lord- 
Advocate  and  the  Solicitor-General ;  for  the  prisoners,  Messrs. 
Grant  and  Sandford.  The  counsel  for  the  Crown  intimated  that 
they  would  proceed  first  with  the  trial  of  James  Speirs.  The  jury 
were  —  Sir  Michael  Shaw-Stewart,  Bart.,  Allan  Ker,  John  M'Naught, 
Robert  Hunter,  Alexander  Leiper,  James  Coats,  Gavin  Browning, 
Matthew  Rodger,  David  Trail,  John  Gibson,  Thomas  Wright,  and 
James  Wilson.  The  indictment  against  James  Speirs  was  to  the 
efiect  that  he  attempted  to  stop  the  cotton  mills  at  Johnstone  from 
working,  according  to  the  orders  of  the  Provisional  Government  as 
stated  in  their  proclamation  of  ist  April.  In  the  indictment  there 
were  four  counts,  and  in  some  of  these  there  were  nineteen  overt 
acts  of  high  treason.  After  a  great  many  witnesses  were  examined 
in  behalf  of  the  Crown,  the  court  adjourned  till  the  following  day. 


iSoO    TILL    1825.  207 

Mr.  Sandford  then  addressed  the  jury  m  a  long  speech,  and  argued 
that  it  was  their  duty  to  return  a  verdict  of  not  guilty.  Afterwards 
a  great  many  witnesses  were  examined  by  Mr.  Grant  and  Mr.  Sand- 
ford  on  behalf  of  the  prisoner,  at  the  close  of  which  Mr.  Grant 
addressed  the  jury  on  his  behalf;  and  was  followed  by  the  Lord- 
Advocate  for  the  Crown,  who  asked  the  jury  to  return  a  verdict  of 
guilty.  The  Lord  Justice  Clerk  then  went  over  the  evidence.  At 
twenty  minutes  before  four  o'clock  on  the  following  morning 
(Thursday),  the  jury  withdrew  to  consider  their  verdict,  and  returned 
in  one  hour  and  twenty  minutes  thereafter,  intimating  as  their  ver- 
dict that  the  prisoner  was  guilty  of  the  fifteenth  overt  act  in  the  first 
count  of  the  indictment,  but  unanimously  recommending  him  to 
mercy.  As  the  stopping  of  the  mills  had  no  connection  with  high 
treason  nor  the  compassing  the  life  of  the  King,  the  court  would  not 
receive  such  a  verdict.  The  jury  were  then  sent  back  to  reconsider 
their  verdict,  and  returned  in  rather  more  than  an  hour  and  gave  in 
a  verdict  similar  to  the  first.  As  this  verdict  was  also  rejected  by 
the  court,  the  jury  again  withdrew,  and  returned  at  eight  with  a 
verdict  of  not  guilty.  Of  this  announcement  the  audience  im- 
mediately manifested  their  approbation  by  cheering  and  clapping  of 
hands.  The  court  pointed  out  a  young  man  of  the  name  of  James 
Mitchell  who  was  more  noisy  than  the  others,  and  by  their  orders 
he  was  instantly  taken  into  custody  and  sent  to  jail,  but  he  was 
liberated  soon  afterwards.  James  Speirs  was  discharged  after 
receiving  a  suitable  admonition  from  tlie  court.  The  Lord- Advocate 
intimated  that  he  would  not  lead  any  evidence  against  John  Lang, 
and  would  accept  of  a  sentence  of  acquittal.  They  therefore 
found  him  not  guilty,  and  he  was  discharged  (Trials  for  High 
Treason  in  Scotland,  vol.  iii.).  The  joy  of  the  people  that 
were  waiting,  on  the  acquittal  of  James  Speirs/  was  un- 
bounded. They  carried  him  through  several  of  the  streets 
shoulder-high,  and  his  agent,  Mr.  Peter  Jack,  was  similarly  treated. 
Thus  concluded  this  great  trial ;  and  it  may  be  said  to  mark  the 
termination  of  the  period  known  by  the  name  of  the  "  Radical  War," 
or,  as  sometimes  called,  the  "  Radical  Rising."  The  story  we  have 
now  told  indicates  the  prevailing  tone  of  highly -pronounced  and 
strongly-advanced  political  feeling  at  that  time  among  the  working- 
classes  of  Paisley,  which  has  caused  the  name  of  our  town  to  be 
known  over  the  land  as  a  centre  of  Radicalism,  and  very  likely 
induced  the  late  observant  Lord  Beaconsfield  to  advise  his  party  to 
"  keep  their  eye  upon  Paisley." 

An  interesting  correspondence  took  place  in  October,  1831, 
between  Sheriff  Dunlop  and  Mr.  Wallace  of  Kelly.  Mr.  Wallace, 
at  a  meeting  of  the  Renfrewshire  Political  Union,  accused  the  anti- 

^  In  1850  public  subscriptions  were  raised  in  Paisley  by  the  friends  and 
admirers  of  James  Speirs.  About  £10  was  obtained  in  this  way  and  presented 
to  him.  At  that  time  he  lived  in  Sneddon  district,  and  within  two  years  there' 
after  he  died  in  great  destitution. 


2o8  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

reforming  authorities,  meaning  the  Sheriffs,  with  bringing  troops  into 
the  county  with  the  view  of  raising,  as  formerly,  a  commotion. 
Sheriff  Dunlop,  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  Wallace  dated  the  13th  of  that 
month,  asked  if  he  referred  to  the  Sheriffs  of  Renfrewshire,  and  on 
what  authority  he  founded  his  assertion  that  he  (the  Sheriff)  was 
"  desirous  of  exciting  a  commotion  in  Renfrewshire,  and  had 
adopted  means  for  producing  it."  Mr.  Wallace  replied  in  a  long 
letter  of  the  following  day.  "  I  believe,"  he  stated,  "  that  persons 
in  the  confidence  and  employment  and  pay  of  the  Government  were 
sent  among  the  people  to  stir  them  up  to  mischief,  and  did  stir 
them  up  to  it  in  the  years  1818  and  1819;  and  that  troops  were 
poured  at  that  time  into  all  parts  of  the  county  at  the  request  of  the 
authorities, —  none  of  whom  ever  contradicted  the  allegation, 
although  a  thousand  times  advanced,  of  hired  spies  and  informers 
having  betrayed  the  people  into  acts  of  insubordination."  Mr. 
Wallace  in  the  same  letter  further  asked  the  following  questions  : — 
"  I  St.  Had  you  officially  as  Sheriff,  or  privately,  directly  or  in- 
directly, any  information  of  the  intention  of  sending  or  the  actual 
employment  of  any  strangers  in  the  county  of  Renfrew  for  the  pur- 
pose of  gathering  information  as  to  the  views  and  feehngs  and  con- 
duct of  the  people  during  the  years  1818,  1819,  and  1820,  for  your 
own  use,  that  of  others,  or  the  Government  ?  2nd.  Did  you, 
officially  or  privately,  directly  or  indirectly,  know  of  any  persons 
being  employed  as  above,  or  receiving  pay  or  rewards,  or  communi- 
cating with  the  other  authorities,  —  such  men  belonging  to  or  being 
resident  in  Glasgow  or  in  Renfrewshire,  or  any  other  county  of 
Scotland  ?  3rd.  Was  a  man  of  the  name  of  Richmond  employed 
as  above  to  your  knowledge,  or  did  he  to  your  knowledge  communi- 
cate of  his  own  accord  with  you  officially  or  privately,  directly  or 
indirectly,  or  with  others  in  office  in  the  county,  or  the  Crown 
officers ;  and  did  he  or  did  he  not,  so  far  as  you  may  know  or  have 
heard,  receive  public  money  or  obtain  pension  or  place  from 
Government  ?"  Sheriff  Dunlop,  in  a  letter  five  days  afterwards, 
among  other  matters  stated — "I  am  not  aware  of  having  been 
accused  during  the  years  181 8  and  1819  of  such  odious  conduct  as 
that  which  your  queries  imply  ;  nor  can  I  admit  the  propriety  of 
being  now  subjected  to  interrogatories  on  the  subject  when  no 
proof  or  even  presumption  of  guilt  has  been  adduced.  Waiving, 
however,  all  such  considerations,  I  shall  answer  your  questions  in 
the  manner  you  desire  — '  frankly,  explicitly,  and  on  the  honour  of 
a  gentleman.'  To  the  whole  questions  you  have  comprehended 
under  the  first  head,  I  answer  distinctly  and  decidedly,  No.  To  the 
second  query  I  give  the  same  reply,  with  this  understanding,  that 
I  presume  the  question  is  not  meant  of  the  Sheriff  having  according 
to  his  duty  obtained  his  information  by  fair  and  legal  means  on 
every  point  that  concerned  the  peace  of  the  district.  I  also  answer 
No  to  the  third  query,  with  this  exception,  that  I  have  certainly 
heard  that  the  person  referred  to  had  been  employed  as  a  spy,  but 
only  heard  this  report  through  the  usual  channels  of  public  com- 


iSoo    TILL    1825.  209 

munication,  and  have  no  knowledge  whatever  with  regard  to  the 
truth  of  the  surmise.  My  answers  to  these  three  interrogatories 
apply  to  the  Sheriff- Substitutes  as  well  as  to  myself,  according  to 
the  best  of  my  knowledge  and  my  implicit  belief.'"'  Mr  Wallace 
rephed  to  this  letter,  but  there  was  not  anything  in  his  reply  of 
public  importance. 

The  race-course  around  the  "four -and -twenty  acres"  used  at  the 
end  of  the  last  century  was  changed  within  the  period  we  are  con- 
sidering. The  new  course  chosen  was  along  Underwood  Road, 
Greenhill  Road,  to  the  Greenock  Road  either  by  the  lane  now- 
called  Murray  Street  or  by  the  lane  farther  north,  and  back  to 
Undenvood  Road  by  Caledonia  Street.  It  is  not  stated  why  this 
change  was  made,  but  it  does  not  appear  to  have  been  an  improve- 
ment upon  the  former  course.  As  the  Council  records  make  no 
reference  to  the  races  during  this  time,  they  must  have  been  managed 
by  other  persons  in  the  town.  Along  a  good  part  of  the  sides  of 
this  new  course  there  were  dangerous  ditches.  On  the  forenoon  of 
the  day  on  which  the  races  were  to  be  run,  the  "  Silver  Bells  "  were 
brought  from  the  Town  Clerk's  office,  and  exhibited  in  one  of  the 
windows  of  the  Tollbooth  at  the  Cross.  The  conditions  under 
which  the  races  were  to  be  run  were  kept  in  the  Town's  Inn,  and 
the  horses  entered  there  for  the  "Bells  "and  after-shots.  At  the 
same  time  also  stewards,  judge,  and  starter  were  appointed,  accord- 
ing to  the  ancient  custom  of  the  burgh.  The  conditions  or  articles 
were  generally  as  follows  :— "  The  riders  and  horses  to  be  at  the 
starting-post  at  four  o'clock,  and  to  run  twice  round  the  ordinary 
course,  and  afterwards  to  the  winning-post  near  the  south  end  of 
Caledonia  Street.  No  horse,  mare,  or  gelding  which  ever  gained  a 
place,  purse,  or  prize  of  the  value  of  ^2^50,  to  be  allowed  to  be 
entered.  No  crossing  or  unfair  jockeyship  to  be  practised  ;  and  if 
the  rider  of  the  horse  who  shall  first  reach  the  winning-post  be  con- 
victed of  having  employed  any  unfair  methods  in  the  course  of  the 
race,  the  prize  shall  be  withheld  from  him,  and  adjudged  to  the 
owner  of  the  horse  which  succeeded  him.  The  prize  to  consist  of 
a  pair  of  "  Silver  Bells,"  which  must  be  immediately  restored  on 
payment  of  two  guineas.  The  owner  of  the  horse  arriving  second 
at  the  winning-post  shall  receive  an  allowance  of  half-a -guinea." 
In  going  to  the  starting -place  at  the  race -course  the  procession  was 
first  formed  at  the  Cross,  and  consisted  of  the  four  town  officers  in 
front  in  full  dress,  with  their  halberds,  and  frequently  some  of  the 
bailies.  The  tow^n  drummer  was  also  there  to  beat  his  drum  when 
necessar)^,  and  the  "  Bells  "  were  carried  to  the  stand  at  the  starting- 
place  on  the  race -course  suspended  from  the  point  of  one  of  the 
town  officer's  halberds.  In  this  way  they  marched  with  great  show 
to  the  course,  followed  by  an  immense  crowd  of  people  of  ever}' 
age.  While  many  went  to  see  the  races  on  the  roads  along  which 
the  horses  ran,  others  went  to  the  north  side  of  Oakshawhill,  where 
a  distant  but  safe  view  was  obtained.     The  race  was,  as  already 


210  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Stated  in  the  articles,  run  in  heats,  and  these  had  the  effect  of  pro- 
longing the  period  of  the  racing.  Several  scaffolds  also  were 
erected  at  different  places  for  those  who  chose  to  pay  for  this 
superior  accommodation  in  order  to  have  a  better  view  of  the  races. 
Accidents  sometimes,  however,  unfortunately  occurred  in  connec- 
tion with  these,  in  consequence  of  their  not  being  securely  fitted  up. 
One  of  these  took  place  at  the  races  in  August,  1816.  A  scaffold 
fell,  and  although  none  of  those  who  were  upon  it  were  seriously 
injured,  yet  a  young  woman  with  a  child  in  her  arms  who  was 
standing  underneath  it  was  killed  on  the  spot  by  some  of  the  wood 
falling  on  her  head.  It  is  very  remarkable  that  no  harm  occurred 
to  the  child. 

The  St.  James  Fair  extended  over  three  days.  On  Thursday, 
the  first  day,  there  was  a  well -attended  horse  and  cattle  market. 
On  the  following  two  days  the  public  works  in  the  town  and  neigh- 
bourhood were  all  stopped  to  permit  the  workers,  along  with  the 
farm-servants  and  others,  to  see  the  famous  Paisley  "  Bell "  race 
and  the  other  attractions  at  the  fair.  The  number  visiting  the  race 
in  August,  1820,  was  comparatively  small,  but  in  the  following  year 
the  attendance  was  great.  The  races  and  fair  are  thus  described  in 
the  Glasgow  Chronicle  of  i4t]i  August,  1821  : — 

"  The  races  at  Paisley  last  week  were  uncommonly  well  attended, 
particularly  on  Saturday  —  indeed,  more  so  than  was  ever  remem- 
bered. The  day  was  uncommonly  fine,  and  crowds  of  all  ranks 
from  every  part  of  the  country  assembled,  and  many  equestrians  and 
pedestrians  went  from  this  city.  Five  horses  started  at  twelve 
o'clock  for  the  principal  race,  and  two  other  races  took  place  in  the 
afternoon  at  three  and  five  o'clock  —  the  last  of  which  was  an 
excellent  race,  and  well  contested.  It  was  highly  gratifying  to 
observe  the  good  humour  that  pervaded  all  classes  in  the  com- 
munity. Everything  went  off  agreeably,  and  we  have  heard  of  no 
serious  accidents  that  happened.  Notwithstanding  the  great  con- 
course of  people,  the  streets  long  before  midnight  were  all  quiet, 
and  nothing  like  noise  was  heard.  Paisley  race -course  with  a  little 
improvement  might  be  made  as  fine  a  one  as  in  the  kingdom.  The 
local  situation  both  for  seeing  and  running  is  admirable  ;  and  con- 
sidering that  we  have  no  races  at  Glasgow,  it  would  be  desirable 
that  something  were  done  to  improve  the  race -course  at  Paisley. 
We  are  happy  to  understand  that  this  is  in  contemplation,  and  we 
doubt  not  the  local  authorities  of  the  town  and  the  gentlemen  of 
the  county  will  give  every  aid  and  encouragement  to  it." 

At  the  races  in  the  following  year  some  serious  accidents  occur- 
red. With  the  exception  of  one  of  the  races,  riders  were  thrown 
from  their  horses.  At  one  of  the  races  two  riders  and  two  horses 
came  down,  and  were  much  hurt  —  one  of  the  riders  being  carried 
from  the  course  in  a  state  of  insensibility.  The  other  rider  was 
also  taken  in  an  apparently  lifeless  state  to  the  adjoining  field,  where 
animation  was  restored  by  his  having  his  arm  lanced  by  a  medical 


l8oO   TILL    1825.  211 

gentleman  who  happened  to  be  at  the  place  at  the  time.  These 
accidents  were  caused  by  an  inattentive  man  coming  in  contact 
with  one  of  the  horses.  He  was  himself  severely  injured.  A  child 
was  also  knocked  down  by  one  of  the  race -horses,  and  hurt  severely 
in  the  face  and  eyes. 

One  of  the  many  benevolent  and  useful  societies  established  in 
this  period  was  that  for  the  education  of  those  poor  children  who 
laboured  under  the  grievous  calamity  of  being  deaf  and  dumb.  In 
November,  181 7,  a  public  meeting  of  the  inhabitants  was  held  in 
the  Court  Hall  for  the  purpose  of  considering  the  propriety  of 
having  such  an  institution  —  Sheriff  Campbell  presiding.  After 
several  gentlemen  had  addressed  the  meeting,  it  was  unanimously 
resolved  that  such  a  society  should  be  established,  and  those  pre- 
sent appointed  William  Fulton,  jun.,  president ;  David  Wallace, 
treasurer;  and  George  Carswell,  secretary,  along  with  eighteen 
directors. 

On  loth  January,  i860,  a  general  meeting  of  the  managers  and 
friends  of  the  Deaf  and  Dumb  Society  was  held  in  the  Council 
Chambers  —  Mr.  William  Phillips  of  Crossflat  in  the  chair.  Mr. 
Archibald  Gardner,  the  secretary,  stated  that  during  the  last  three 
years  three  pupils  were  in  attendance  at  the  Glasgow  Institution,  one 
of  whom  had  completed  the  curriculum  of  six  years  in  August  last ; 
that  during  the  same  period  seven  pupils,  from  sixteen  to  thirty 
years  of  age,  were  under  the  tuition  of  Mr.  Mitchell  four  nights  a 
week, — two  of  whom  left  at  the  end  of  two  years,  and  five  were  still 
in  regular  attendance.  Since  1833  a  class  for  religious  instruction 
was  open  to  all  the  mutes  in  town  every  Sabbath  evening,  conducted 
by  Mr.  Mitchell,  and  was  attended  by  about  ten  adults.  Mr. 
Gardner  further  stated  that  the  society,  since  its  commencement  in 
181 7,  had  educated  thirty-three  pupils,  in  addition  to  the  seven 
then  under  instruction,  and  the  claims  for  the  education  of  the  mutes 
in  town  had  been  fully  met. 

Near  the  end  of  the  second  decade  of  our  century,  considerable 
agitation  prevailed  in  the  town  on  the  subject  of  Burgh  Reform.  A 
public  meeting  of  the  feuars  and  burgesses,  called  by  public  adver- 
tisement, was  held  in  the  West  Relief  Church,  Canal  Street,  on  29th 
September,  181 9, —  Mr.  William  Barr,  writer,  in  the  chair,  —  when 
it  was  resolved,  by  a  considerable  majority,  that  as  the  inhabitants 
were  lawfully  entitled  to  choose  their  Magistrates  and  Councillors, 
and  to  audit  their  accounts,  measures  should  forthwith  be  adopted 
for  regaining  their  authority.  The  meeting  likewise  disapproved  of 
the  Council  exacting  a  fourth  part  of  a  year's  rent,  instead  of  an 
eighth,  for  entering  vassals.  Provost  Carlile  moved  an  adjourn- 
ment of  the  meeting,  to  give  the  inhabitants  time  to  consider 
these  matters,  and  stated  that  neither  the  Council  nor  himself  were 
disposed  to  resist  any  well  founded  proposal  of  the  burgesses. 
The  Provost's  motion,  however,  was  only  supported  by  a  small 


212  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

portion  of  the  meeting.  Subsequent  to  this  meeting,  and  before 
the  end  of  the  year,  numerous  printed  statements  and  pamphlets 
were  issued  from  the  press  on  this  subject.  The  Town  Council 
themselves  entered  into  the  controversy  "  in  vindication  of  their 
official  conduct  against  certain  charges  published  by  a  committee  of 
feuars  and  burgesses."  This  vindication,  which  referred  to  the 
selhng  of  the  life-rent  superiority, —  a  new  Crown  charter  alleged  to 
have  invaded  the  privileges  of  the  feuars, — the  admitting  of  burgesses 
to  elect  the  councillors,  the  raising  the  entries  of  vassals  from  one- 
eighth  to  a  quarter  of  the  yearly  rent,  and  the  giving  of  facilities  for 
the  inspection  of  the  public  accounts,  "was  ordered  to  be  printed 
and  circulated  and  inserted  in  the  newspapers."  Another  meeting 
on  burgh  reform  —  convened  by  Mr.  Barr,  writer  —  was  held  on 
5th  March,  1819,  but  the  demand  for  parliamentary  reform  and 
other  political  agitations,  superseded  any  further  movements  of  this 
kind.  At  this  time  the  electing  of  Magistrates  and  Councillors  was 
conducted  in  a  very  curious  and  circuitous  manner,  and  the  plan 
continued  till  the  passing  of  the  Burgh  Reform  Bill  in  1833. 
It  was  thus  :  —  On  the  Monday  preceding  the  day  of  election  the 
Council,  by  a  general  vote,  nominated  five  of  their  number  as  a  leet 
or  list  for  Treasurer,  and  fourteen  persons  who  had  formerly  been 
in  Council  as  a  leet  for  ordinary  Councillors.  These  fourteen  and 
six  individuals  were  elected  by  each  of  the  Councillors  present 
naming  one  in  rotation  ;  but  should  the  number  of  the  Councillors 
be  less  than  twenty,  so  as  to  leave  the  list  incomplete,  the  remainder 
were  supplied  by  a  general  vote.  On  the  day  of  election,  the  Treas- 
urer, five  old  and  three  new  Councillors,  were  chosen  by  a  general 
vote,  and  after  administration  of  the  oaths  prescribed  by  law,  they, 
accompanied  by  the  Burgh  Clerk,  retired  to  an  ante-chamber,  and 
chose  thirteen  of  the  former  Council,  making,  in  toto,  the  number 
twenty- two,  of  whom  the  Council  for  the  year  to  come  was  to  be 
composed.  The  old  and  new  Council  afterwards  nominated  three 
persons  in  succession  to  retire  into  an  adjoining  room,  and  select 
one  of  them  to  return  who  was,  of  course,  one  of  the  leet  for  Magis- 
trates, and  he  in  turn  suggested  another  who  should  retire  in  his 
stead,  and  if  approved  by  the  Council,  which  was  usually  the  case, 
that  person  retired ;  and  from  the  three  thus  in  the  other  apartment 
the  Council  selected  one  who  also  was  in  the  leet  for  Magistrates, 
and  in  a  similar  way  one  was  voted  out  and  another  in,  until  the 
number  of  nine,  composing  the  leet,  was  completed.  These  nine 
having  given  their  votes  sigillatim,  again  retired ;  and  those 
remaining  in  the  Council  Chamber  having  given  their  votes,  the 
election  was  decided  in  favour  of  those  who  appeared  to  have  the 
majority. 

Several  claims  for  damages  suftered  from  the  riots  in  1819-20, 
and  also  for  the  accommodation  of  troops,  were  made  to  the 
Council.  That  body  took  the  advice  of  counsel,  who  gave  it  as 
their  opinion  that  it  was  from  the  county  the  claims  were  recoverable. 


l8oO   TILL    1825.  213 

The  county  objected  to  this.  After  much  correspondence,  the 
government  allowed  ;^428  towards  the  charges  incurred  for 
cavalry,  infantry,  &c.,  in  consequence  of  these  riots ;  and  the 
Council  and  County  in  August,  182 1,  agreed  that  the  balance 
should  be  paid  equally  by  both  parties.  Before  this  arrangement 
could  be  carried  out,  several  parties  raised  an  action  before  the 
Sheriff  against  both  the  town  and  the  county,  for  the  recovery  of  the 
sums  due  to  them.  The  Sheriff  found  the  Magistrates,  as  repre- 
senting the  community,  liable  in  the  damages,  reserving  to  them 
i;ehef  against  the  community;  "and  in  respect  that  the  Magistrates 
of  burghs  are  the  parties  liable  in  terms  of  the  statute  for  damages 
committed  during  riots  within  burghs,"  assoilzied  the  county.  It  was 
not,  however,  till  April,  1825,  that  the  expenses  connected  with 
these  riots  were  finally  adjusted,  when  the  Council  authorised  an 
assessment  of  2  3^d.  per  ^  to  be  made  upon  the  annual  rental  of  all 
houses  and  possessions  within  the  burgh. 

In  1819-20  a  rifle  corps  was  raised  in  Paisley  with  the  greatest 
alacrity  to  aid  the  civil  power  and  the  special  constables  in  main- 
taining peace  in  the  town.  They  were  frequently  called  "the  dandy 
riflemen,"  and  sometimes  the  sharp-shooters.  They  consisted  of 
two  companies,  and  never  exceeded  120  rifles  each.  The  first 
company  was  under  Captain  M 'Alpine,  as  captain  commandant ; 
Captain  Stewart  commanded  the  second  company.  Mr.  Halden 
was  first  lieutenant  in  the  first  company,  and  Mr.  Thomas  Carlile 
was  the  other  officer.  Under  Captain  Stewart  was  Mr.  William 
Carlile,  then  a  silk  yarn  manufacturer,  afterwards  bleacher  at 
Houston.  Mr.  A.  H.  Simpson,  writer,  was  sergeant-major;  Dr. 
Joseph  Macleod,  surgeon.  The  band  instruments  were  all  key 
bugles,  except  black  Peter's  drum ;  and  much  of  the  music  was 
composed  by  Mr.  R.  A.  Smith.  Captain  M'Alpine  served  in 
America,  and  for  his  service  there  was  entitled  to  a  grant  of  land. 
Captain  Stewart  served  in  the  royals,  and  was  also  in  America,  but 
not  in  war-time.  He  was  an  authority  in  his  regiment  on  all 
matters  connected  with  discipHne  and  drill.  Lieutenant  Halden 
served  in  the  21st  regiment,  and  was  with  it  at  New  Orleans  when 
it  suffered  severely  in  consequence  of  the  44th  not  being  forward 
with  the  fascines,  on  which  the  21st  was  to  cross  the  ditch.  This 
rendered  the  attack  a  failure.  All  these  officers  served  in  Spain 
and  rose  by  merit.  It  was  no  uncommon  thing  for  clerks  and 
warehousemen  to  be  at  work  in  uniform,  with  their  arms  beside 
them,  ready  at  the  signal  (the  ringing  of  the  High  Church  bell)  to 
turn  out ;  and  they  mounted  guard  with  the  regulars.  Sometimes  a 
regular  officer,  and  sometimes  a  rifle  officer,  was  in  command  of  the 
guard.  On  more  than  one  occasion  they  were  on  guard  for  twenty- 
four  hours;  and  were  at  Foxbar,  along  with  a  party  of  the  13th 
regiment,  under  the  command  of  Sergeant  Leiper.  The  following 
well-known  names  formed  part  of  the  corps  :  —  Messrs.  John  Dunn, 
writer;    John   Gemmill,   writer;    Alexander   Macfarlane,  banker; 


214  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Rev.  James  Smith,  Cathcart;  John  Crawford,  writer;  Thomas 
Henderson,  accountant ;  James  Lymburn,  merchant ;  John  Craw- 
ford, teacher  of  dancing;  John  Mair,  shoe  merchant;  Alexander 
Wardrop,  manufacturer;  Alexander  Bartholomew,  Glasgow;  George 
Miller,  Glasgow ;  James  Murphy,  Glasgow ;  Alexander  M'Lean, 
Andrew  Sinclair,  Thomas  Cook,  James  Miller,  William  Sharp, 
Robert  Stevenson,  Thomas  Risk,  John  Jamieson,  William  Semple, 
&c.  The  corps  reached  a  high  state  of  discipline,  and  often  were 
complimented  by  general  officers  by  whom  they  were  reviewed. 

Measures  were  adopted  at  the  end  of  1820  for  defraying  certain 
expenses  incurred  in  the  equipment  of  the  yeomanry  cavalry  of  the 
county;  and  the  Council  on  the  21st  January  following  voted  the 
sum  of  ;z^2  5  for  that  purpose,  being  at  the  rate  of  ^£2  los.  per  ^{^loo 
scots  of  the  community's  valuation.  The  county  authorities 
contributed  their  subscription  in  a  similar  manner. 

Many  of  the  inhabitants  of  Paisley,  like  those  of  several  other 
towns,  took  great  interest  in  the  proceedings  connected  with  the 
"  Bill  of  Pains  and  Penalties  "  raised  against  the  Consort  of  George 
IV.  A  public  meeting  was  held  and  an  address  to  Queen  Caroline 
agreed  to;  and  the  writer  of  it  —  Mr.  John  M'Gregor  —  was 
arrested  by  the  orders  of  the  Lord -Advocate.  When  the  news 
arrived  on  23rd  April,  1821,  of  the  abandonment  of  that  prosecu- 
tion, those  who  were  favourable  to  the  Queen's  cause  exhibited  a 
great  amount  of  joy,  and  agreed  to  have  an  illumination,  when  the 
Magistrates  published  a  proclamation  prohibiting  bonfires  and  the 
carrying  of  tar- barrels  and  the  discharging  of  fire-arms.  The  order 
was  generally  obeyed,  and  the  illumination  was  only  partial.  A 
number  of  devices  were  exhibited.  A  green  bag  and  several  figures 
meant  to  represent  certain  characters  were  burned  with  some 
ceremony.  By  midnight  the  streets  were  as  quiet  as  usual.  The 
proceedings  against  Mr.  M'Gregor  were  abandoned. 

In  1 82 1  a  very  correct  and  superior  map  of  the  town  and  suburbs, 
upon  a  large  scale,  was  published  by  Mr.  Knox,  Edinburgh.  Its 
dimensions  were  two  feet  nine  inches  by  two  feet. 

The  removal  of  the  disabilities  to  which  Roman  Catholics  were 
subjected,  were  in  April,  1822,  brought  before  Parliament  by  Mr. 
Canning,  who  proposed  to  empower  Roman  Catholic  Peers  to  act 
as  members  of  the  House  of  Lords.  The  country  objected  to  this 
measure ;  and  in  Paisley  a  meeting  of  ministers  and  members 
of  different  congregations  in  the  town  and  neighbourhood  was 
held,  and  resolutions  against  the  bill  were  passed.  A  petition, 
founded  upon  these  resolutions,  was  subscribed  by  a  considerable 
number  of  ministers,  magistrates  of  the  town  and  county,  and  by 
nearly  four  thousand  of  the  inhabitants.  The  petition  was  presented 
to  the  House  of  Commons  by  ]Mr.  Robert  Peel,  and  to  the  House 
of  Lords  by  the  Earl  of  Liverpool. 

The  year  1824  was  notable  in  the  literary  annals  of  Paisley  for 


l8oO   TILL    1825.  215 

the  commencement  in  it  of  the  first  newspaper.  For  many  years 
prior  to  that  time  the  want  of  a  newspaper  to  chronicle  passing 
local  events,  and  to  afford  facilities  for  advertising,  for  the  discussion 
of  social  and  political  subjects,  both  local  and  of  a  general  nature, 
was  severely  felt.  For  such  and  much  other  information  the 
inhabitants  were  almost  entirely  dependent  upon  the  newspapers 
published  in  other  places.  And  although  in  these  were  narrated 
some  of  the  principal  events  that  occurred  in  the  town,  yet  in  many 
respects  they  fell  far  short  of  supplying  the  wants  of  our  community. 
Before  the  commencement  of  the  first  newspaper,  several  periodicals 
had  been  issued  weekly  and  monthly  from  the  Paisley  press  for  a 
time  and  had  then  disappeared.  Of  these  we  may  mention  the 
following: — Amtual  Miscellany  or  Literary  Recreatiojis,  181 2; 
Paisley  Repository,  181 2;  Weavers'  Magazine,  2  vols.,  181 7 -19; 
Harp  of  Renfrezvskire,  18 19;  Paisley  Literary  Miscellany,  1823; 
Moral  and  Literary  Observer,  1823;  The  Comet,  1823;  The 
Gaberliinzie,  1824.  The  Tickler  did  not  appear  till  1828;  and  The 
Paisley  Magazine,  now  so  much  prized,  was  published  in  the  same 
year. 

The  desire  to  have  a  newspaper  in  Paisley  was  general.  The 
first  meeting  was  held  in  the  Saracen's  Head  Inn  on  nth  August, 
1824,  when  Provost  James  Carlile  was  in  the  chair.  The  following 
were  appointed  a  committee  to  obtain  shareholders  to  subscribe  the 
capital  required  : — Provost  Carlile  ;  Bailies  Matthew  Boyd,  William 
Gilmour,  Andrew  Deans,  and  Treasurer  M'Donald,  along  with 
fifteen  gentlemen  —  Provost  CarUle,  convener.  Messrs.  Barr, 
Hart,  and  Auld,  writers,  were  appointed  to  prepare  conditions  for 
the  signature  of  the  shareholders.  When  these  were  agreed  upon 
and  the  company  established,  the  proprietors  were  as  follows  : — 
John  Auld,  William  Barr,  John  Bell,  John  Boyd,  Matthew  Boyd, 
Gavin  Browning,  jun.,  John  Caldwell,  Edward  Campbell,  John 
Campbell,  Alexander  Carlile,  James  Carhle,  Thomas  Carswell,  jun., 
James  Coats,  James  Cook,  John  Craig,  David  Crawford,  William 
Currie,  Thomas  Dick,  James  Dunn,  William  Falconer,  Robert 
Farquharson,  John  Fleming,  Joseph  Fleming,  Peter  Fraser, 
Alexander  Fullarton,  Andrew  Gibson,  John  Gibson,  John  Lawrence, 
jun.,  John  Lymburn,  William  Lyon,  George  Miller,  Andrew  Millar, 
Henry  Miller,  William  Motherwell,  John  Macalister,  Archibald 
M'Alpine,  Adam  M'Cargow,  Neil  M'Donald,  Robert  M'Kechnie, 
M.D.,  Joseph  M'Leod,  John  Neilson,  Robert  Patison,  John  Paton, 
William  Paton,  James  Peddie,  John  Peddie,  P.  A.  Ramsay,  John 
Scott,  James  Scroggie,  James  Shearer,  James  Shearer,  jun.,  William 
Sim,  Robert  Smith,  WiUiam  Stirfing,  Hugh  Strathern,  Matthew 
Taylor,  William  Gilmour,  John  Goldie,  John  Halden,  John 
Hamilton,  John  Hart,  William  Hart,  John  Hunter,  M.  W.  Ivison, 
John  Jamieson,  James  Lamb,  William  Taylor,  James  Walker, 
William  Waterston,  Alexander  Wilson,  James  Wilson,  John  Wilson, 
jun.,  Robert  Wilson,  and  William  Wylie. 

By  article  VL  of  the  constitution,  the  editor  was  bound  not  to 


2l6  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

indulge  in  strong  party  politics,  but  to  take  a  medium  course.  The 
first  editor  was  Mr.  James  Goldie,  and  the  first  number  of  the 
Paisley  Advertiser  appeared  on  the  9th  October,  1824,  and  continued 
to  be  published  weekly  on  the  Saturdays  thereafter. 

In  the  following  year  another  weekly  newspaper  commenced 
to  be  published  in  Paisley.  On  the  8th  January,  1825,  the  following 
advertisement  appeared  in  the  Paisley  Advertiser: — "Early  in 
February  will  be  published  No.  i  of  a  new  Hberal  and  independent 
weekly  newspaper,  entitled  the  Renfrewshire  Chronicle,  to  be 
published  every  Friday  afternoon.  The  prospectus  will  appear  in 
the  course  of  a  few  days."  We  find  a  notice  to  the  following  effect 
in  the  Paisley  Advertiser  of  17th  September  following: — "At  a 
meeting  of  the  proprietors  of  the  Renfreivshire  Chronicle,  held  on 
Monday  last,  it  was  resolved  that,  after  the  present  number,  the 
publication  should  be  discontinued. — -Renfreivshire  Chi'onicle,  15th 
September."  The  twenty- fifth  number,  "printed  by  R.  Fraser, 
Coffee -Room  Buildings,"  dated  nth  August,  1825,  is  in  the 
Reference  Department  of  the  Free  Library ;  and,  looking  to  the 
date  of  its  stoppage,  there  have  been  in  all  thirty  numbers  published. 

The  following  is  an  extract  from  a  very  interesting  report  to  the 
Town  Council,  by  a  committee  of  their  number,  relating  to  the 
Statute  Labour  Fund,  for  the  year  1824  : — 

Number  of  persons  assessed, 
Persons  considered  poor, 
Certificates  of  inability, 
Exemptions  from  military  service,   ... 
Removed,  and  not  yet  found, 


143  houses,  kept  by  92  persons,  at  los., 
Houses  rented  above  ;^io — 250  at  5s., 
Houses  rented  under  ^10 — 3781  at  3s., 


Collected  in  five  months. 
Remaining  uncollected, 

In  1822,  the  amount  of  statute  labour  money 

collected  was     ... 
In  1823, 

Immediately  after  the  inhabitants  had  celebrated  the  great 
victory  of  the  British  arms  at  Waterloo,  a  number  of  gentlemen  in 
town  formed  a  Waterloo  club.     At  the  anniversary  meetings  they 


5630 

.     580 

•    517 

■     177 

233 

15 

07 

41 

23 

.  ^71 

10 

0 

.     62 

10 

0 

567 

3 

0 

;^7oi 

3 

0 

'£zsi 

0 

0 

■   344 

3 

7 

0 

•^341 

0 

.   358 

18 

0 

l800    TILL    1825.  217 

dined  together;  and  the  ninth  and  last  was  held  on  the  18th  June, 
1825,  in  the  Saracen's  Head  Inn.  Provost  Farquharson  was  in  the 
chair  ;  supported  by  Colonel  Mure  and  Sheriff  Campbell.  William 
Lowndes,  Esq.,  acted  as  croupier,  and  the  meeting  was  numerous 
and  highly  influential.  After  the  usual  loyal  and  patriotic  toasts,  the 
Provost,  in  an  eloquent  speech,  proposed  the  toast  of  "  the  Duke  of 
Wellington  and  his  illustrious  warriors  of  the  memorable  i8th  of 
June,  1 81 5."  Among  the  other  toasts  given  during  the  course  of 
the  evening  were,  "  the  memory  of  our  gallant  countrymen  who  laid 
down  their  lives  in  raising  their  country's  fame  and  in  achieving  the 
most  splendid  victory  that  ever  adorned  the  annals  of  history ; "  "  the 
King  of  Prussia  and  his  brave  warriors;"  "His  Majesty's  Ministers, 
and  may  they  continue  to  increase  the  comforts  and  decrease  the 
burdens  of  the  people;"  "Sir  Edward  Paget  and  the  army  in 
India;"  "Colonel  Mure  and  the  Renfrewshire  Militia;"  "Lord 
Kelburne  and  the  Renfrewshire  Yeomanry  ; "  "  Colonel  Snodgrass, 
Captain  Macalpine,  and  the  Paisley  Rifle  Corps ;"  "The  friendly 
union  of  Whig  and  Tory  ;  "  "  Plenty  in  the  land  the  best  guarantee 
for  loyalty  in  the  people,"  &c. 

Well  might  Paisley  rejoice  over  such  a  termination  to  so  disastrous 
a  war.  As  a  home  of  peaceful  industry,  she  can  only  hope  to  thrive 
by  the  blessings  of  peace.  The  self-aggrandising  war  of  Buonaparte 
brought  only  mischief  to  her,  and  his  downfall  was  the  herald  of 
increased  prosperity  in  all  departments  of  her  manufactures  and 
trade. 


CHAPTER     XVII. 

1825    TILL    1850. 

T  several  periods  in  this  century,  we  have  been  under 
the  necessity  of  recording  great  depressions  of  trade  in 
the  town,  with  accompanying  distress  among  the 
industrious  classes.  But  the  bad  trade  and  commercial 
gloom  that  swept  over  the  country  in  the  latter  part  of 
1825,  the  whole  of  1826,  and  a  part  of  1827,  was  the  most  severe 
that  had  been  experienced  in  Paisley.  The  unfavourable  condition 
of  trade  which  prevailed,  more  or  less,  between  1817  and  1822,  was 
followed  in  1823  and  1824  by  great  prosperity.  Money  became 
abundant ;  labour  was  in  great  demand  and  was  well  paid ; 
speculation  was  rife ;  and  the  public  funds,  which  stood  in  the 
money  market  at  ^65  in  1820,  rose  to  ;j^96  in  1824.  But  in  the 
autumn  of  1825  a  sad  change  began  to  manifest  itself,  and  by  the 
beginning  of  1826  trade  became  generally  depressed  throughout 
the  country.  It  was  on  27th  February  in  this  year  that  the  distress 
existing  among  the  operatives,  from  inability  to  procure  employment, 
was  first  brought  under  the  notice  of  the  Town  Council,  who, 
thinking  that  this  state  of  matters  would  only  be  temporary, 
arranged  with  tlie  General  Session  to  obtain  funds  from  the 
Directors  of  the  Town's  Hospital,  to  afford  assistance  to  the  most 
necessitous.  On  the  23rd  of  the  following  month,  the  Provost 
reported  to  the  Council  that  the  number  of  weavers,  with  their 
dependants,  out  of  employment  and  requiring  assistance  had 
increased  to  2200.  To  obtain  the  additional  funds  required  to 
assist  those  in  distress,  the  Council,  still  thinking  the  depression  in 
trade  would  soon  pass  away,  authorised  a  supplementary  assessment 
to  be  raised  by  the  Directors  of  the  Town's  Hospital.  This  was 
also  found  to  be  quite  inadequate.  As  many  of  the  operatives  in 
the  villages  in  the  surrounding  district  were  suffering  from  inability 
to  find  work,  a  county  meeting  was  held  on  27th  March,  to  decide 
what  should  be  done.  The  attendance  at  the  meeting  was  both 
numerous  and  influential.  The  deepest  interest  was  displayed  in 
the  extent  of  the  distress  that  existed,  and  the  greatest  anxiety  for 
its  removal.  Upwards  of  ;^6oo  was  subscribed  by  those  present. 
Another  meeting,  also  numerously  attended,  of  gentlemen  belonging 
to  the  town,  was  held  for  the  same  purpose  on  3rd  April  following. 
The  greatest  unanimity  prevailed  among  those  present  in  their  desire 
to  assist  those  suffering  severe  hardships  from  want  of  employment. 
The  amount  subscribed  at  the  meeting,  and  within  a  few  days  there- 
after, was  upwards  of  ;^7oo.     By   the  end   of  April  the  town  and 


1S25    TII.I.    1850.  219 

county  subscriptions,  which  were  conjoined,  amounted  to  ^2657. 
In  Paisley  at  this  time  there  were  three  thousand  looms  idle ;  in 
Kilbarchan,  three  hundred  out  of  seven  hundred  ;  and  in  Houston, 
fifty  out  of  eighty- four.  By  the  middle  of  May  the  number  out  of 
employment  in  Paisley  and  neighbourhood,  along  with  their 
dependants,  amounted  to  12,890.  As  distress  from  want  of  employ- 
ment prevailed  among  the  operatives  throughout  nearly  the  whole 
country,  subscriptions  for  their  relief  were  commenced  in  London  ; 
and  so  much  was  the  object  approved  of,  that  ^18,000  was  raised 
during  the  first  day.  By  the  middle  of  June  the  weekly  expenditure 
for  the  support  of  the  unemployed  and  their  dependants  amounted 
to  ;^54o.  The  money  received  in  the  locality  could  not  meet  this 
great  outlay,  but  funds  were  fortunately  obtained  from  other  sources. 
The  King  subscribed  ^500  to  the  funds ;  and  money  was  sent 
from  the  London  manufacturing  committee ;  from  Newcastle, 
Bristol,  Edinburgh,  and  Greenock.  In  the  beginning  of  July  the 
number  of  persons  in  Paisley  and  district  wholly  or  partially 
depending  on  the  fund  for  relief  was  nearly  15,000.  Another 
county  meeting  was  held,  and  further  sums  subscribed  for  the  relief 
of  the  distressed  operatives. 

In  several  towns  in  England  there  were  severe  riots,  much 
property  was  destroyed,  the  military  was  called  out  and  lives  were 
lost.  The  object  of  the  rioters  was  to  destroy  power-looms,  as  the 
cause  of  the  depression  in  hand- loom  weaving.  In  spite  of  the 
privations  the  operatives  in  Paisley  and  surrounding  district  endured, 
they  conducted  themselves  in  a  most  orderly  and  exemplary  manner. 
Several  of  them  were  engaged  in  improving  the  foot-paths  on  the 
roads  surrounding  the  town,  and  many  were  employed  upon  the 
banks  and  towing-path  of  the  River  Cart.  The  Council  were  so 
satisfied  v/ith  the  operations  at  the  river,  that  on  nth  July  they 
voted  p^  1 50  to  the  relief  fund. 

Towards  the  end  of  August  the  general  trade  of  the  country 
showed  symptoms  of  improvement,  and  as  these  continued  and 
gradually  increased,  the  operatives  obtained  work ;  and  by 
February  in  the  following  year,  the  applications  for  relief  ceased 
altogether. 

The  money  expended  in  reUeving  the  distress  of  the  operatives  at 
this  time,  was  upwards  of  ^^13,000  ;  and  of  this  sum  ;^3,7oo  was 
received  from  the  London  manufacturing  committee.  The  Council 
were  so  much  pleased  with  the  generous  conduct  of  Mr.  Robert 
Peel,  M.P.,  the  Home  Secretary,  that  they  sent  an  address  to  him 
expressing  their  best  thanks  "  for  the  anxious  solicitude,  patient 
attention,  and  benevolent  interest  exhibited  by  him  in  his  official 
capacity  relative  to  this  district  of  the  country,  during  a  protracted 
period  of  unexampled  distress."  Mr.  Peel's  interesting  reply  to 
Provost  Farquharson  was  as  follows  : — 

"Whitehall  Gardens,  7th  May,  1827. 

"Sir, — I  request  that  you  will  assure  the  Magistrates  and 
common  Council  of  the   Burgh  of  Paisley,  that  the  sentiments  of 


2  20  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

respect  and  esteem  which  they  have  expressed  towards  me  are  very 
gratifyuig  to  my  feelings.  The  daily  communications  which  for 
many  months  came  respecting  the  state  of  the  district  in  which 
Paisley  is  situated,  have  left  impressions  on  my  mind  which  will 
cause  me  to  take  a  lasting  interest  in  its  welfare.  The  painful 
sensations  inseparable  from  the  contemplation  of  severe  distress 
were  relieved  by  the  consolatory  reflection  that  every  local  effort 
was  made  for  the  mitigation  of  it  that  could  be  made  by  benevolence 
unremittingly  and  most  judiciously  directed  towards  its  object.  I 
can  never  forget  either  the  zealous  exertions  of  that  benevolence,  or 
the  patient  fortitude  with  which  misfortunes  were  borne  by  the 
immediate  sufferers.  The  mutual  feelings  of  good -will  between  all 
classes  of  society  which  have  sprung  from  the  near  and  affecting 
relations  in  which  they  were  thus  placed  towards  each  other,  will,  I 
am  confident,  long  survive  the  occasion  which  gave  them  birth,  and 
will  be  a  lasting  compensation  for  an  evil  the  pressure  of  which 
was  so  severe.  With  many  acknowledgments  to  yourself  personally 
for  the  flattering  terms  in  which  you  have  conveyed  to  me  the 
unanimous  resolution  of  the  Magistrates  and  common  Council,  I 
have  the  honour  to  be,  sir,  your  most  obedient  servant, 

"  Robert  Peel." 

This  depression  in  the  state  of  the  trade  of  the  country  was 
greatly  aggravated  by  the  harvest  of  1826  being  very  unsatisfactory. 
The  heat  and  the  drought  were  severe,  and  the  crop  of  oats  in  many 
dry  soils  was  so  short  that  it  had  to  be  pulled  out  by  the  roots. 

The  operatives  were  so  much  delighted  with  the  great  exertions 
Provost  Farquharson  had  made  in  their  behalf,  that  at  a  meeting 
held  in  the  Saracen's  Head  Inn  on  30th  September,  1827, —  Dr. 
William  Craig  in  the  chair, —  they  presented  to  him  three  beautiful 
and  chastely  designed  silver  salvers,  bearing  the  following  inscrip- 
tion : — "  To  Robert  Farquharson,  Esq.  of  Allargue,  Provost  of 
Paisley,  as  an  expression  of  public  gratitude  for  exertions  in  behalf 
of  the  unemployed  operatives  during  the  late  period  of  unexampled 
distress." 

The  weaving  trade  in  1829  Avas  again  depressed,  and  funds  were 
raised  to  assist  those  out  of  employment.  The  London  manu- 
facturing committee  contributed  p^6oo. 

In  1 83 1  the  Paisley  weavers  were  again  subjected  to  bad  trade. 
A  meeting  of  the  subscribers  to  the  relief  fund  in  1829  was  held  in 
November,  1831,  and  more  money  was  collected  by  public  sub- 
scriptions for  relief  of  the  unemployed.  Upwards  of  _;^2ooo  was 
received  in  this  way.  By  the  beginning  of  1832  trade  had  improved 
so  much  that  the  giving  of  relief  was  stopped. 

Bad  trade  had  now  unfortunately  become  periodical  in  Paisley, 
and  the  intervals  were  very  short.  In  1837  depression  of  trade  in 
Paisley  existed  to  a  very  great  degree.  In  April  of  that  year  there 
were  of  unemployed  weavers  850,  of  dyers  60,  and  in  addition  there 
were  many  flower -lashers,  draw-boys,  pirn-winders,  sewers,  and 
others,  in  the   same   unfortunate  condition.     Many   of  the  able- 


1825    TILL    1850.  221 

bodied  men  were  employed  in  breaking  stones  in  the  town's  quarry, 
and  in  repairing  the  banks  and  towing-path  connected  with  the 
river  Cart.  Several  soup  kitchens  were  also  established  in  the 
town,  and  as  many  as  eight  hundred  quarts  of  soup  were  distributed 
daily  to  those  out  of  work.  A  considerable  amount  of  money  was 
collected  by  pubUc  subscriptions  both  in  the  town  and  county. 
Trade  becoming  better,  payments  to  the  unemployed  were  stopped 
in  the  middle  of  September,  and  the  soup  kitchens  were  closed  at 
the  end  of  that  month.  The  money  received  at  this  time  for  the 
relief  of  the  distress  was  as  follows  : — 


General  subscriptions  and  collections. 

■•  ^5853 

6 

8 

London  subscriptions. 

••        3345 

12 

II 

Edinburgh     do., 

2009 

18 

2 

Loan  per  Mr.  Hastie,  M.P., 

2000 

0 

0 

Work  done  in  the  quarry, 

359 

3 

0 

Interest,     ... 

13 

7 

II 

^13,581     8     8 
Repaid  Mr.  Hastie,  ]\LP.,    ...         ...       1500     o     o 


;;^i2,o8i     8     8 

This  large  amount  of  money  was  all  expended.  The  sum  lent 
by  Mr.  Hastie  was  understood  to  have  been  received  by  him  from 
the  Government  Treasury. 

We  now  approach  the  years  1841,2,3,  when  the  weaving  trade 
in  Paisley  and  surrounding  district  was,  from  a  variety  of  disturbing 
causes,  in  a  worse  condition  than  it  had  ever  been.  During  this 
terrible  period  the  sufferings  and  distress  of  the  working  classes, 
which  were  endured  with  the  greatest  patience,  were  without  a 
parallel  for  duration  and  extent.  In  the  summer  of  1840  a  number 
of  unemployed  weavers  received  assistance  ;  but  it  was  not  till  22nd 
June,  1 841,  that  serious  and  pressing  applications  were  made  to  the 
Town  Council  for  relief.  They  called  a  public  meeting  of  the 
clergy,  bankers,  merchants,  manufacturers,  traders,  and  other  inhabi- 
tants, to  be  held  in  the  Court  Hall  on  the  29th  of  that  month,  to 
devise  means  for  the  relief  of  the  unemployed  operatives  of  the 
town.  The  meeting  was  well  attended ;  and  being  of  opinion  that 
a  great  deal  of  real  distress  existed  among  the  operatives  of  Paisley 
and  its  neighbourhood,  agreed  that  a  committee  should  be  appointed 
for  the  purpose  of  raising  a  fund  with  the  view  of  providing  for  the 
relief  of  the  unemployed.  Thereafter  the  state  of  trade  and  manu- 
factures gradually  became  worse,  and  the  unemployed  increased  in 
numbers.  To  add  to  the  sufferings  in  the  community,  several  of 
the  leading  manufacturers  were  compelled  to  suspend  payments, 
confidence  was  destroyed,  and  extensive  bankruptcies  followed. 
The  Town  Council  also,  whose  borrowed  money  was  repayable  at  a 
short  notice,   being  unable  to  meet  the  demands  made  on  them, 


2  22  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY, 

were  under  the  necessity  of  suspending  payments  on  22nd  December, 

1841.  The  number  receiving  relief  on  7th  July,  1841,  amounted  to 
2180;  it  rose  to  14,791  on  the  nth  February,  1842;  and  gradually 
fell,  with  slight  fluctuations,  till  4th  October,  1842,  when  the  number 
was  5989  ;  from  this  time  it  again  increased  until  the  27th  Decem- 
ber, 1842,  when  it  reached  11,885.  The  number  then  decreased 
until  7th  March,  1843,  when  it  was  found  to  be  4442. 

The  allowances  made  to  those  on  the  relief  list  ranged  from 
threepence  to  one  penny  per  head  per  day.^  During  the  period  of 
the  distress  the  destitute  unemployed  were  supplied  in  two  different 
ways  —  first  by  tickets  or  orders  on  the  shopkeepers,  and  after- 
wards by  orders  on  the  stores  belonging  to  the  Relief  Committee. 
Latterly  a  little  money  was  also  given. 

It  has  been  alleged  by  some  parties  that  the  contributions  of  the 
inhabitants  of  Paisley  to  the  general  fund  were  small.  But  it  must 
be  kept  in  view  that  all  classes  in  the  community  suffered  so  much 
that  they  were  unable  to  give  more.  Out  of  1 1 2  manufacturing 
firms  solvent  and  doing  business  in  July,  1841,  67  failed  ;  and  out 
of  40  persons  ranked  in  the  Directory  as  merchants,  20  failed,  and 
these  were  the  leading  men  in  town.  The  amount  of  the  liabilities 
of  those  firms  that  failed  was  upwards  of  ^750,000,  and  thus  caused 
a  great  loss  to  those  banks  that  did  business  in  the  town. 

In  consequence  of  a  complaint  made  in  the  House  of  Commons 
by  Mr.  Wallace,  M.P.  for  Greenock,  in  February,  1843,  that  the 
unemployed  and  destitute  in  Paisley  were  not  receiving  proper 
treatment,  a  committee  of  their  number  was  appointed  to  inquire 
into  the  allegation  and  to  report  to  the  House.  The  witnesses 
examined  before  that  committee  were  —  William  Henley  Hyett, 
secretary  of  the  London  Manufacturers'  Relief  Committee  ;  E.  T.  B. 
Twiselton,  Assistant  Poor- Law  Commissioner  for  England  ;  Robert 
Wilson,  town -clerk,  Paisley  ;  Provost  Henderson,  Sheriff  Campbell, 
Rev.  Dr.  Burns,  Paisley ;  Rev.  Mr.  Bremner,  and  W.  M.  Alexander 
of  Southbar.  The  result  of  the  labours  of  this  committee  was  a 
mass  of  interesting  evidence  relating  to  the  distress  in  Paisley,  along 
with  a  short  report  made  by  the  committee. 

To  encourage  the  weaving  trade  in  Paisley,  the  Queen  in  January, 

1842,  desired  the  Provost  to  forward  to  Her  Majesty  a  number  of 
Paisley  shawls  that  she  might  make  a  selection  from  them.  There 
were  accordingly  thirty  shawls  sent  to  Windsor  Castle,  at  prices 
varying  from  ^2  los.  to  J[,\2  los.,  and  Her  Majesty  retained 
eighteen  of  them  belonging  to  eight  different  manufacturers,  the 
value  of  which  amounted  to  ^157   5s.  6d. 

Before  the  end  of  March  trade  had  greatly  revived,  and  the 
number  of  the  unemployed  had  decreased  so  greatly  that  the  stores 
were  stopped.  By  the  end  of  April  the  soup  kitchens  were  also 
closed. 

^  See  Report  of  Select  Committee  of  the  House  of  Commons  for  full  particu- 
lars, p.  136. 


1825    TILL    1850. 


22- 


The  sources  from  which  the  Relief  Committee  obtained  the  funds 
they  expended  were  as  follows  : — 


London  Manufacturers'  Relief  Committee, 

London  Private  Committee,... 

Edinburgh, 

Glasgow, 

India,    ... 

Greenock, 

Ireland, 

Paisley, 

Various  parts  of  Scotland,  per  Clergy, 

County  of  Renfrew,     ...  ^4,240  19 

Off  for  Villages,  ...  1,477   16 


^16,656 
4,914 
2,423 
1,322 

1,528 

659 

500 

2,031 

4,670 


9 
o 
10 
5 
7 
2 
o 

14 

o 


Various  quarters, 

Queen  and  other  Patrons  to  County  Subscrip- 
tions, 

New  York, 

France, 

Edinburgh  and  Glasgow  Railway, 

Glasgow  and  Renfrewshire  Charity  Ball, 

General  Assembly  of  Church  of  Scotland, 

Weaving  Fund,  the  loss  on  which 

was  ...  ...  ...  ^1,371   16     o 

Emigration  Fund,       ...  ...  177     o     o 

To  Agricultural  Labour  Fund,         95S  16     o 


2,763 
6,910 

325 

200 

52 

71 

120 

399 


o 
o 

5 
II 

19 

ID 


^2,507     12 


Say  One-half  for  Paisley, 
Implement  Fund, 


1,2;; 


16 


386 


^47,187   18  10 


Before  that  quarter  of  the  19th  century  we  are  now  considering 
had  finished,  a  fifth  depression  of  trade  had  occurred.  In  January, 
1847,  the  number  of  unemployed,  including  their  dependants, 
amounted  to  5500,  and  in  the  same  month  in  the  following  year  the 
number  was  about  7000.  Money  was  again  raised  by  subscriptions 
and  by  contributions  from  the  poor  funds.  The  assistance  granted 
for  the  support  of  the  unemployed  was  chiefly  by  means  of  soup 
kitchens. 

The  general  trade  and  business  in  the  country  for  some  years  at 
this  time  was  in  an  intensely  depressed  condition ;  and  the 
entire  failure  of  the  potato  crop  in  every  direction  increased  the 
universal  gloom  in  commercial  affairs.  Money  became  high  in 
value  —  the  discounts  charged  by  the  Bank  of  England  rising  as 
high  as  ten  per  cent.,  and  the  shares  and  stocks  in  public  companies 


224 


HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 


fell  immensely  in  value,  causing  the  ruin  of  many  who  thought  they 
were  in  affluent  circumstances.^ 

When  the  Abbey  Bridge  was  built,  as  already  stated,  in  1763,  the 
roadway  was  made  so  narrow  that  two  vehicles  could  not  pass  one 
another,  and  there  was  no  foot-path  for  passengers.  On  several 
occasions  its  insufficiency  appears  to  have  attracted  the  attention  of 
the  county  road  trustees.  So  far  back  as  1806  they  had  agreed  to 
a  resolution  that  some  very  necessary  improvements  should  be  made 
on  the  entrance  to  Paisley  by  the  Abbey  Bridge,  but  these  were  not 
carried  out.  At  the  annual  meeting  of  the  trustees  in  October, 
1822,  Mr.  Maxwell  of  Pollok  brought  the  matter  under  the 
consideration  of  the  trustees,  and  stated  that  "  when  passing  that 
way  in  his  carriage  he  had  frequently  observed  that  the  bridge  was 
very  narrow,  and  that  foot  passengers  ran  a  considerable  risk, 
particularly  if  the  carriages  were  driving  hard.  Money  expended 
on  this  improvement  would  be  a  benefit  to  the  county."  In  the 
discussion  that  followed,  the  trustees,  after  declaring  they  were 
ready  to  give  one -third  of  the  expense  incurred  in  making  the 
necessary  improvements,  appointed  a  committee  to  examine  the 
bridge  and  to  report  to  a  future  meeting.  Nothing  definite,  how- 
ever, was  done  till  three  years  afterwards,  when  the  "  Provost 
reported  that,  at  a  meeting  of  Quarter  Sessions,  held  at  Renfrew  on 
the  25th  instant,  it  had  been  agreed  to  contribute  from  the  bridge 
money  fund  ;z^2oo  towards  widening  the  Seedhill  Bridge,  provided 
the  community  of  Paisley  and  the  inhabitants  of  the  Newtown  and 
suburbs  should  subscribe  ^400,  and  that  the  repairs  be  carried  into 
effect  within  three  years"  (Council  Records,  31st  October,  1825). 
The  Council,  at  a  meeting  held  on  the  15th  of  the  following  month, 
agreed  to  subscribe  ;^ioo  towards  this  improvement.  But  it 
appears  to  have  been  a  difficult  matter  to  raise  the  remainder  of  the 
money  required,  for  the  widening  of  the  bridge  was  not  completed 
till  1829.  The  bridge  was  made  nine  feet  wider,  and  this  increased 
its  width  to  twenty- three  feet  two  inches  over  the  walls.  A  narrow 
foot-path  was  made  on  the  east  side,  the  side  on  which  the 
additional  width  was  secured.     Looking  to  the  immense  traffic  that 


^  The  following  table  shows  the  prices  of  stock  in  a  few  of  the  principal  rail- 
ways at  the  end  of  December  for  the  five  years  ending  1849  : — 


1849. 


York  and  North  Midland,  . . 

York  and  Newcastle,  

London  and  Norlh-Western, 

Glasgow  and  Ayrshire, 

Lancashire  and  Yorkshire,... 

Caledonian, 

Great  Western, 

Edinburgh  and  Glasgow, 


Paid. 

1845. 

1846. 

1847. 

184S. 

;^=;o 

;^I02 

£9^ 

£l^ 

£m 

25 

31 

38 

33 

28 

100 

210 

193 

145 

125 

50 

71 

70 

50 

25 

100 

150 

125 

92 

79 

100 

104 

98 

72 

42 

100 

168 

141 

no 

90 

ICO 

136 

132 

86 

76 

£^1 
16 

log 
22 

55 
20 

58 

56 


1825    TILL    1850.  225 

passed  along  the  bridge,  the  wonder  is  that  the  serious  inconvenience 
and  danger  to  passengers  arising  from  its  narrowness  could  have 
been  submitted  to  so  long. 

In  1827  the  Old  Bridge  was  in  a  state  of  disrepair;  and  on  the 
1 2th  October  in  that  year  the  Provost  stated  to  the  Council,  "that 
the  Cross  Bridge,  commonly  called  the  Old  Bridge,  was  in  very 
great  disrepair  and  required  immediate  attention  ;  and  the  meeting 
appointed  application  to  be  made  to  the  meeting  to  be  held  at 
Renfrew  on  the  30th  current  of  the  Road  Trustees,  for  an  ap- 
propriation of  part  of  the  County  Bridge  money  to  repair  the  said 
iDridge."  In  the  meantime  a  proposition  was  made, —  as  stated  at 
a  Council  meeting  held  on  the  25th  of  that  month, —  that  besides 
repairing  the  bridge,  it  should  also  be  widened  by  projecting  the 
foot-path  on  the  north  side,  and  it  was  expected  that  money  would 
be  raised  by  public  subscription  to  pay  part  of  the  expense.  The 
Town  Council  accordingly  made  application  to  the  County  Trustees, 
who  granted  ^56  13s.  4d.  towards  the  cost  of  the  repairs.  The 
Council  agreed  to  pay  other  ^20,  and  ^50  was  raised  by  sub- 
scription. On  27th  May,  1828,  the  Council  ordered  specifications 
to  be  prepared  for  the  work,  and  employed  Mr.  James  Gillespie,  slater, 
to  point  the  mason  work  of  the  bridge  with  arden  lime.  When  the 
offers  were  opened  on  25th  June,  1828,  that  of  Mr.  James 
Donaldson  at  ^2  5s.  per  lineal  yard,  with  an  allowance  of  ^'j  for 
old  materials,  was  accepted,  being  the  lowest.  In  1832  the  late 
Mr.  James  Dunn  of  Greenhill,  took  down  the  house  at  the  north- 
east end  of  the  bridge,  and  the  opportunity  was  embraced  of 
widening  the  street  there.  Towards  this  improvement  the  Council 
contributed  ;^3o. 

The  retaining  wall  at  the  north-west  end  of  the  Sneddon  Bridge 
gave  way  in  1840,  and  was  rebuilt  at  an  expense  of  ;£,22i  i8s.  3d. 
The  County  Road  Trustees  on  being  applied  to  paid  one -third  part 
of  that  sum  ;  and  the  Town  Council  and  Newtown  Road  Trustees 
contributed  the  balance,  in  the  proportion  of  the  sums  which  they 
received  for  statute  labour  money. 

The  troops  of  the  Renfrewshire  Yeomanry  Cavalry  formed,  as 
already  mentioned,  in  the  period  of  disaffection  and  rioting  in  1820, 
were  not  disbanded  like  the  rifle  corps,  when  these  troublous  times 
had  ended.  The  head  quarters  of  these  troops  were  generally  in 
Paisley,  and  they  continued  to  meet  for  drill  during  many  years. 
On  6th  October,  1826,  this  yeomanry  force,  after  they  had  been 
engaged  for  eight  days  at  drill,  were  reviewed  by  Major  Campbell, 
in  the  presence  of  many  spectators,  in  a  field  at  Hawkhead  farm, 
adjoining  the  Canal.  They  consisted  of  four  troops  and  mustered 
two  hundred  strong.  When  the  review  was  finished  horse-racing 
commenced ;  and  the  plan  always  adopted  for  finding  out  the 
swiftest  horse  was  by  each  of  the  four  troops  trying  among  them- 
selves, and  the  four  victors  in  this  contest  afterwards  running,  when 
the   first   horse   was   declared   the  winner  of  the  race.      In  this 


2  26  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

concluding  trial  of  speed  the  victory  was  won  by  Mr.  Galloway,  who 
gave  the  stakes  to  the  unemployed  relief  fund.  The  corps  after- 
wards dined  in  the  Renfrewshire  Tontine, — Sir  M.  S.  Stewart  in 
the  chair.  The  next  review  took  place  on  8th  August,  1827,  in  a 
field  near  to  Barnsford  Bridge.  Archibald  Campbell,  Esq.  of 
Blythswood,  in  his  uniform  as  lord-lieutenant  of  the  county,  was 
present  as  inspecting  officer ;  and  Sir  M.  S.  Stewart,  major 
commandant,  was,  in  his  absence,  represented  by  his  brother, 
Captain  Houston  Stewart.  The  force  mustered  about  240  strong, 
and  looked  extremely  well  in  their  new  clothing.  The  heavy 
helmets  formerly  worn  were  superseded  by  caps  of  a  more  becoming 
pattern.  There  were  many  superior  horses  on  the  field ;  and  the 
readiness  with  which,  in  so  short  a  period  of  drill,  the  men  performed 
the  various  evolutions,  was  favourably  commented  on  by  those  in 
command  and  by  the  numerous  spectators  assembled.  At  the 
termination  of  the  review  there  was  the  usual  horse-racing.  On 
returning  to  Paisley  many  of  the  yeomen  dined  in  the  Renfrewshire 
Tontine, —  Captain  Houston  Stewart  occupying  the  chair. 

On  28th  January,  1828,  the  gallant  and  chivalrous  officers  of  the 
first  or  Paisley  troop  gave  a  splendid  ball  in  the  Renfrewshire 
Tontine.  Besides  the  members  of  the  troop,  there  were  both 
officers  and  men  from  the  other  troops.  According  to  the  local 
newspaper,  then  edited  by  Mr.  William  Motherwell,  the  assembly 
must  have  been  highly  successful,  for  it  stated  —  "The  ball-room 
was  crowded,  and  there  could  not  be  fewer  than  250  individuals 
present.  Dancing  commenced  about  eight,  and  continued  till  four 
in  the  morning.  "With  truth  can  we  say  that  we  never  witnessed  a 
more  animating  and  joyous  scene,  and  never  was  a  ball  conducted 
more  perfectly  to  the  satisfaction  of  all  as  that  on  Tuesday  night. 
The  whole  evening  was  one  unceasing  round  of  festive  and  hearty 
enjoyment  —  trooper  and  civilian  —  lady  and  rustic  maiden,  in 
holiday  attire,  mingling  in  the  giddy  mazes  of  the  dance  without 
distinction  and  in  perfect  harmony."  In  this  year  the  review,  after 
the  usual  days  of  drilling,  took  place  on  9th  August,  on  the  same 
field  as  in  the  previous  year.  There  was  likewise  the  customary 
racing ;  and  the  fifth  or  concluding  race  was  won  in  dashing  style 
by  Mr.  Lindsay,  of  the  Kilbarchan  troop.  Upwards  of  seventy 
yeomen  dined  in  the  afternoon  in  the  Tontine  Inn, —  Sir  M.  S. 
Stewart  in  the  chair.  On  the  20th  November  in  that  year,  the 
privates  in  the  first  troop  gave  a  ball  in  honour  of  their  officers,  to 
show  the  kindly  feeling  of  the  troopers  towards  them.  About  160 
were  present. 

In  August,  1829,  Sir  M.  S.  Stewart,  the  major- commandant, 
issued  orders  for  the  purpose  of  increasing  the  efficiency  of  the 
corps,  recommending  the  different  troops  to  have  occasional  drilling 
previous  to  mustering  for  permanent  duty.  This  was  attended  to 
with  commendable  zeal.  On  27th  September,  the  Yeomanry 
Cavalry,  under  the  command  of  Sir  M.  S.  Stewart,  marched  into 
(quarters  for  the  usual  period  of  training  and  exercise.     The  muster 


1825    TILL    1850,  227 

of  the  regiment  that  year  was  considerably  above  200  ;  and  it  was 
stated  in  the  pubHc  prints  at  the  time  that  a  finer  body  of  men  or 
better  horses  and  more  perfect  equipment  had  never  been  reviewed 
in  any  yeomanry  corps  in  Scotland.  The  troopers  were  reviewed 
on  the  3rd  October  in  a  field  abounding  in  many  picturesque 
beauties  on  the  side  of  the  river  at  Abbots  Inch.^  The  attendance 
of  spectators  was  very  considerable.  A.  C.  Campbell,  Esq.  of 
Blythswood,  Earl  Cathcart,  Sir  Archibald  Campbell  of  Succoth, 
and  other  gentlemen,  were  present.  Major  Graham  of  the  12th 
Royal  Lancers  was  the  inspecting  officer,  and  the  yeomen  in  per- 
forming their  exercises  must  have  given  unbounded  satisfaction, 
judging  from  what  was  afterwards  stated.  After  the  review  the 
troops  were  drawn  up  in  a  hollow  square,  and  Earl  Cathcart,  after 
addressing  them  in  flattering  terms,  concluded  by  saying  —  "  Yeomen 
of  Renfrewshire,  you  have  charged  to-day  like  heroes.  With  such 
as  you  at  my  back  the  conquest  of  the  world  were  easy."  Sir  M.  S. 
Stewart  also  addressed  the  troops  at  some  length,  and  said —  "You 
have  earned  distinguished  honours,  but  I  can  add  nothing  to  the 
warm  terms  in  which  Lord  Cathcart,  the  first  cavalry  officer  in  the 
kingdom,  has  addressed  you.  I  thank  you  for  the  personal  sacrifices 
I  know  many  of  you  have  made  in  coming  to  do  duty  at  this  season 
of  the  year.  You  have  mustered  around  the  banner  of  your  Sover- 
eign when  that  banner  called  you  to  the  field,  with  a  readiness 
creditable  to  your  own  loyalty  and  truly  flattering  to  me  as  your 
officer.  It  is  the  proudest  feeling  of  my  heart  that  I  have  at  this 
moment  clustered  around  me  the  flower  of  the  yeomen  of  Renfrew- 
shire, and  that  they  have  most  emphatically  done  their  duty." 
Then  followed  the  troop  races,  which  excited  marked  interest ;  and 
the  final  tie  (or  heat)  was  gained  by  Mr.  John  Speirs.  In  the  after- 
noon about  130  gentlemen  dined  in  the  Renfrewshire  Tontine  — 
Sir  M.  S.  Stewart  in  the  chair.  The  Yeomanry  in  the  following 
year  (1830)  were  on  permanent  duty  at  Greenock  for  eight  days, 
and  the  review  was  held  in  a  field  at  Finnart. 

The  officers  of  the  Paisley  troops  gave  a  ball  on  31st  January, 
183 1,  in  the  Renfrewshire  Tontine,  and  there  were  about  200  pre- 
sent. In  1832  the  different  troops  were  drilled  at  Mearns.  On 
27th  October,  1833,  the  Yeomanry  went  on  duty  for  eight  days,  at 
the  end  of  which  they  were  reviewed  by  Major  Hill  of  the  7th 
Hussars,  who  expressed  himself  satisfied  with  their  equipments  and 
manoeuvring.  After  the  customary  races,  a  number  dined  in  the 
Tontine,  under  the  presidency  of  Captain  Houston  Stewart,  R.N. 

^  Jamieson  states  in  his  dictionary  that  Inshc  and  Insh  in  Gaelic  generally 
mean  an  island  of  a  small  size.  According  to  the  map  of  the  river  Cart  supplied 
by  Robert  Whitworth  along  with  his  report  in  1786,  already  noticed,  upon  the 
improvement  of  its  navigation,  two  islands  are  shown  at  this  place.  One  of  these 
at  least  must  have  been  appropriated  in  some  way  by  the  Abbots  of  the  Monas- 
tery, and  hence  its  name.  There  were  five  inshes  or  islands  in  the  river  Clyde 
between  Renfrew  and  Glasgow,  according  to  Blean's  map  of  1654.  There  are 
none  now,  but  their  respective  names  were  ^  Water  Inch,  Whyl  Inch,  Bush 
Inch  (or  Packman's  Isle),  King's  Inch,  and  Sand  Inch. 


228  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

On  6th  December  in  that  year  the  privates  of  the  first  troop  gave  a 
ball  in  the  Renfrewshire  Tontine  in  honour  of  their  officers.  The 
company  assembled  exceeded  300.  In  August,  1834,  the  first 
troop  assembled  for  eight  days'  drill  under  Captain  Farquharson. 
On  23rd  January,  1835,  a  cavalry  ball  took  place,  under  the  auspices 
of  the  officers  of  the  first  troop,  in  the  Tontine  assembly-room.  The 
troopers  were  all  in  full  uniform  with  the  exception  of  spurs.  There 
were  present,  besides  the  officers  of  the  72nd  Regiment,  Sir  M.  S. 
Stewart,  P.  M.  Stewart,  M.P.,  Sheriff  Dunlop,  and  the  Lord -Lieu- 
tenant of  the  County,  Mr.  Campbell  of  Blythswood.  Li  August, 
1 836,  the  Yeomanry  Cavalry  were  on  duty  at  Greenock  for  eight  days. 
In  1838  the  Government,  in  consequence  of  the  continued  peace 
enjoyed  by  the  country,  resolved  to  dispense  with  the  services  of  the 
Renfrewshire  Yeomanry  Cavalry.  They  were  finally  disbanded  on 
31st  March  in  that  year;  and  on  the  previous  evening  the  officers 
gave  a  grand  ball  in  the  Tontine  Assembly  Rooms.^  The  warm- 
hearted, upright,  and  generous  Captain  Farquharson,  of  the  first 
troop,  was  a  great  favourite  with  the  members,  and  they  entertained 
him  at  dinner  on  the  4th  June  in  that  year,  in  the  Saracen's  Head 
Inn,  in  testimony  of  their  respect  and  esteem  for  him,  with  whom 
they  had  been  so  long  associated. 

The  petitions  presented  to  Parliament  by  the  Town  Council  in 
this  period  were  numerous,  and  many  of  them  related  to  subjects  of 
very  great  importance.     They  were  as  follows  : — 

On  25th  February,  1826,  they  petitioned  Parliament  against  the 
bill  for  prohibiting  the  issue  of  small  notes  by  bankers.  On  26th 
January,  1827,  they  petitioned  both  Houses  of  Parliament  to  revise 
the  Corn  Laws  in  such  a  way  as  to  be  beneficial  to  the  commercial 
interests  of  this  country ;  while  at  the  same  time  the  agricultural 
interests  would  be  protected.  On  27th  April,  1829,  they  petitioned 
Parliament  in  favour  of  a  bill  for  making  a  railway  from  the  coal 
fields  of  the  upper  parts  of  Lanarkshire  to  communicate  with  the 
western  markets,  by  the  Garnkirk  and  Glasgow  Railway,  Monkland 
Canal,  and  other  communications.  On  22nd  January,  1830,  they 
petitioned  in  favour  of  a  bill  to  connect  Lanarkshire  coal  fields  with 
the  Clyde,  at  the  Broomielaw,  by  means  of  a  railway.  On  30th 
March,  1830,  they  petitioned  against  the  renewal  of  the  charter  to 
the  East  India  Company.  On  i6th  December,  1830,  they  petitioned 
in  favour  of  Parliamentary  reform.  On  15th  March,  183 1,  they 
petitioned  in  favour  of  the  plan  of  Parliamentary  reform  proposed 
by  Government.  On  24th  June,  1834,  they  petitioned  against  the 
Law  of  Entail.  On  22nd  July,  1835,  they  petitioned  in  favour  of  a 
measure  to  regulate  the  wages  of  hand -loom  weavers.  On  26th 
April,  1836,  they  petitioned  against  the  duty  on  Fire  Insurance. 
On  9th  May,  1837,  they  petitioned  against  the  mode  of  assessment 

^  In  Scotland  only  two  corps  were  retained  at  this  time,  —  the  Lanarkshire  and 
Ayrshire, —  all  the  rest  being  disbanded. 


l82^  TILL   i8:;o. 


229 


proposed  in  the  Prisons  Bill.  On  i6th  May,  1837,  they  petitioned 
the  Government  to  grant  a  sum  for  the  support  of  the  unemployed 
artizans.  On  30th  May,  1837,  they  petitioned  Parliament  for  the 
abolition  of  the  punishment  of  death  in  all  cases  except  murder. 
On  23rd  May,  1838,  they  petitioned  Parliament  in  favour  of  the 
Edinburgh  and  Glasgow  Railway  Bill.  On  4th  April,  1838,  they 
again  petitioned  Parliament  against  the  proposed  mode  of  levying 
the  rates  in  the  new  Prisons  Bill.  On  29th  May,  1838,  they 
petitioned  Parliament  in  favour  of  a  reduced  and  uniform  rate  of 
postage.  On  24th  July,  1838,  they,  for  the  third  time,  petitioned 
Parliament  against  the  Prisons  Bill,  as  regards  the  proposed  mode 
of  assessment  and  the  board  of  management.     On   i8th   March, 

1839,  they  also  petitioned  Parliament  against  the  Prisons  Bill.  On 
29th  March,  1839,  they  petitioned  Parliament  in  favour  of  a  uniform 
penny  post.  On  21st  January,  1840,  they  petitioned  the  Queen  for 
a  commutation  of  the  sentence  of  death  passed  upon  John  Frost, 
Zephaniah  Williams,  and  William  Jones,  lately  found  guilty  of  high 
treason  in  South  Wales.  On  21st  January,  1840,  they  petitioned 
Parliament  against  the  Clyde  Navigation  Bill,  in  so  far  as  it  was 
intended  to  increase  the  dues  on  vessels  coming  to  Paisley  and 
navigating  the  lower  stages  of  the  river.  On  21st  December,  1841, 
they  petitioned  the  Government  in  favour  of  the  members  of  several 
emigration  societies  in  Paisley  having  free  passages  to  Canada.  On 
1 8th  February,  1845,  they  petitioned  Parliament  against  the  bill 
relating  to  the  Glasgow  Bridges.  On  loth  February,  1846,  they 
petitioned  Parliament  in  favour  of  Sir  Robert  Peel's  measures 
relating  to  the  abolition  of  the  Corn  Laws,  &c.^  On  20th  May  they 
petitioned  Parliament  against  the  bill  for  the  amalgamation  of  the 
Glasgow  and  Paisley  Canal  and  the  Glasgow  and  Ayr  Railway. 
On  6th  June,  1848,  they  petitioned  Parliament  in  favour  of  a  reform 
in  the  existing  banking  laws.  On  12th  April,  1848,  they  petitioned 
Parliament  in  favour  of  granting  sites  for  churches  to  all  non- 
conformists. On  1 6th  June,  1848,  they  petitioned  Parliament  in 
favour  of  an  extension  of  the  elective  franchise,  vote  by  ballot, 
electoral  districts  more  equally  distributed,  and  the  restoration  of 
the  duration  of  Parliament  to  a  period  not  exceeding  three  years. 
On  4th  September,  1849,  they  petitioned  Parliament  for  the  abolition 
of  the  Convention  of  Royal  Burghs.  On  9th  October,  1849,  they 
agreed  to  delay  the  petition  for  the  abolition  of  the  Convention  of 
Royal  Burghs. 

^  On  nth  December,  1837,  a  public  meeting  was  held  in  the  Old  Low 
Church,  which  agreed  to  petition  both  houses  of  Parliament  for  a  repeal  of  the 
Corn  and  Provision  Laws.     A   public  meeting  was  also  held  on  9th  January, 

1840,  —  Provost  Bisset  presiding,  —  which  agreed  to  petition  Parliament  for  a 
speedy  and  total  repeal  of  the  Corn  Laws.  This  meeting  also  resolved  to  form 
an  anti-corn  law  association,  and  to  send  two  delegates  to  represent  the  town  at 
the  great  meeting  of  the  Anti-Corn  Law  League,  to  be  held  in  Manchester  at 
that  time.  The  association  then  formed  continued  till  the  Corn  Laws  were 
repealed,  and  took  an  energetic  and  intelligent  part  in  helping  to  bring  about 
that  very  important  event. 


230  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

The  Council  forwarded  addresses  to  the  Sovereign  on  the  follow- 
ing subjects  : — On  24th  January,  1827,  an  address  of  condolence  to 
His  Majesty  on  the  death  of  His  Royal  Highness  the  Duke  of  York 
and  Albany.  On  3rd  July,  1832,  an  address  to  the  King  in  relation 
to  the  late  attack  upon  His  Majesty.  On  3rd  December,  1834,  an 
address  declaring  regret  at  the  sudden  and  unexpected  change 
which  had  taken  place  in  your  Majesty's  Councils.  "We  are  par- 
ticularly sorry  that  your  Majesty  should  have  again  called  into  office 
the  avowed  and  uncompromising  opponents  of  those  measures  of 
Reform  which  the  united  voice  of  the  whole  country  declared 
necessary  for  its  peace  and  prosperity."'  (King  William  IV.  was 
born  2ist  August,  1765,  and  died  20th  June,  1837.)  On  i6th  June, 
1840,  an  address  to  the  Queen  expressing  indignation  at  the  late 
treasonable  attempt  upon  Her  Majesty's  life,  and  congratulating 
Her  Majesty  upon  her  happy  preservation.      On  2nd  December, 

1840,  an  address  of  congratulation  to  Queen  Victoria  on  the  auspi- 
cious event  of  the  birth  of  the  Princess -Royal.     On  i  ith  November, 

1841,  an  address  to  the  Queen  and  Prince  Albert  on  the  occasion 
of  the  birth  of  the  Prince  of  Wales.  On  21st  December,  1841,  an 
address  to  the  Queen  asking  again  for  pardon  to  Frost,  Williams, 
and  Jones.  On  28th  August,  an  address  to  the  Queen  on  the 
occasion  of  Her  Majesty's  visit  to  Scotland.  On  i6th  May,  1843, 
an  address  of  condolence  to  the  Queen  on  the  death  of  his  late 
Royal  Highness  the  Duke  of  Sussex  ;  and  also  an  address  of  con- 
gratulation on  the  birth  of  another  princess.  On  8th  October,  1844, 
an  address  to  the  Queen  congratulating  Her  Majesty  and  Her 
Royal  Consort  on  their  safe  arrival  at  home  from  their  late  gracious 
visit  to  Scotland.  On  13th  August,  1847,  an  address  to  the  Queen 
on  the  occasion  of  her  visit  to  Scotland  by  the  river  Clyde. 

In  this  period  the  following  gentlemen  were  created  honorary 
burgesses  by  the  Town  Council  :— 

"  On  6th  October,  1826,  Sir  M.  S.  Stewart,  of  Greenock  and  Black- 
hall,  Bart.,  major- commandant  of  the  Renfrewshire  Yeomanry 
Cavalry,  from  the  very  high  consideration  of  his  character  as  a 
gentleman  ;  from  recollection  of  the  friendship  he  has  so  actively 
and  ardently  evinced  for  the  welfare  of  the  burgh  ;  and  from  the 
repeated  acts  of  benevolence  so  very  liberally,  handsomely,  and 
seasonably  manifested  by  him  on  behalf  of  the  unemployed  opera- 
tives in  these  times  of  unparalleled  depression  and  distress." 

On  ist  February,  183 1,  the  Council,  "  in  consideration  not  only  of 
his  distinguished  literary  attainments,  but  of  his  public  and  private 
virtues,  created  John  Wilson,  Esq.,  Professor  of  Moral  Philosophy 
in  the  University  of  Edinburgh,  an  honorary  burgess  of  the  burgh  of 
Paisley,  his  native  town,  with  the  usual  privileges." 

On  loth  December,  1832,  "  the  Council  unanimously  created  Sir 
John  Maxwell  of  Pollok,  Bart.,  and  John  M'Kerrell,  Esq.  of  Hill- 
house,  burgesses,  being  the  two  first  candidates  for  the  representa- 
tion of  Paisley  in  the  British  Parliament." 


1825    TILL    1850.  231 

28th  October,  1834.— An  address  was  sent  to  the  Right  Hon.  the 
Earl  of  Durham  "expressing  gratitude  in  particular  for  the  eminent 
share  taken  by  your  lordship  in  preparing  the  Reform  Bills, 
measures  which,  we  trust,  will  yet  lead  to  the  most  beneficial  results 
as  regards  the  happiness  and  prosperity  of  the  country." 

9th  August,  1836. — A  motion  by  a  member  of  Council  that  the 
freedom  of  the  town  be  conferred  upon  Thomas  Campbell,  Esq., 
author  of  "  The  Pleasures  of  Hope,"  who  is  to  visit  this  place  in  a 
few  days,  was  negatived. 

ist  February,  1842. — "The  Council  unanimously  created  and 
admitted  the  Right  Hon.  James  Carr  Boyle,  Viscount  Kelburne,  an 
honorary  burgess  and  freeman  of  the  burgh,  as  a  token  of  the  grate- 
ful sense  which  they  and  the  community  entertain  of  his  lordship's 
exertions  to  obtain  aid  for  the  suffering  operatives  of  the  burgh  in 
their  present  distressed  condition,  and  of  his  own  munificent  con- 
tributions for  their  relief." 

On  22nd  January,  1844,  "  the  Council  unanimously  created  and 
admitted  Robert  Wallace  of  Kelly,  M.P.  for  Greenock,  an  honorary 
burgess  and  freeman  of  the  burgh,  as  a  token  of  the  grateful  sense 
which  they  and  the  community  entertained  of  his  great  exertions  in 
obtaining  the  Penny  Postage,  a  measure  so  beneficial  to  all  classes 
in  the  country." 

On  7th  February,  1846,  "the  Council  unanimously  created  and 
admitted  their  eminent  townsman,  John  Henning,  Esq.,  London,  an 
honorary  burgess  and  freeman  of  the  burgh,  in  token  of  the  high 
sense  the  community  entertained  of  his  private  worth  and  dis- 
tinguished talents  as  an  artist." 

In  June,  1827,  when  the  old  Burgher  Meeting-house  in  the  Abbey 
Close  was  taken  down  to  make  way  for  a  new  church  to  be  erected 
in  its  place,  a  grand  view  was  obtained  from  the  foot  of  Causeyside 
of  the  fine  proportions  of  the  lofty  west  gable  of  the  Abbey.  The 
idea  immediately  occurred  to  many  that  the  new  church  should,  if 
possible,  be  erected  in  another  place,  that  this  prospect  might 
thereby  be  permanently  secured.  On  26th  June  in  that  year  the 
Provost  brought  the  matter  under  the  notice  of  the  Council,  and 
stated  that  "  a  very  strong  feeling  appeared  to  exist  among  the  public 
that  the  view  if  possible  be  preserved,  which  the  managers  of  the 
congregation,  he  understood,  were  inclined  to  gratify  provided  a 
convenient  site  could  be  procured  elsewhere  for  their  new  church. 
To  accomplish  this  end,  a  subscription  had  been  proposed,  and  he 
had  brought  this  subject  before  them  that  they  might  have  an  op- 
portunity of  considering  how  far  and  in  what  way  they  could  assist 
in  attaining  this  object."  But  they  came  at  that  time  to  no  specific 
resolution.  Afterwards,  at  a  public  meeting  called  by  the  Provost, 
subscriptions  were  commenced  to  raise  money,  and  a  committee  was 
appointed  to  treat  with  the  Burgher  congregation  for  a  change  of 
site,  and  to  adopt  such  additional  measures  as  might  be  deemed 
necessary  to  effect  the  desired  object.     The  advances  of  the  com- 


232  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

mittee  were  met  with  much  cordiality,  and  a  temporary  stop  was  put 
to  the  proceedings  of  the  builder.  At  a  meeting  of  Council  held 
on  3rd  July,  they  unanimously  voted  the  handsome  grant  of 
;2^3i  I  OS.  in  aid  of  the  general  subscription  for  procuring  a  new  site 
for  the  Abbey  Close  Church,  and  thereby  preserving  the  view  now 
laid  open  of  the  west  end  of  the  Abbey  Church,  on  condition  that 
the  enclosing  wall  on  the  line  of  the  street  be  made  a  parapet 
with  a  rail  like  that  enclosing  the  area  at  the  west  end  of  the  Abbey 
Church.  The  committee  offered  the  Abbey  Close  congregation  a 
choice  of  three  several  steadings  or  ;^4oo  in  cash,  with  the  reten- 
tion of  the  old  ground  as  a  place  of  sepulture,  with  a  pledge  to  orna- 
ment it  by  a  wall  and  railing.  The  managers  of  the  congregation 
exhibited  in  the  different  meetings  on  the  subject  every  disposition 
to  comply  with  the  wish  of  the  public  so  far  as  might  be  practicable  ; 
but  all  the  overtures  made  them  were  rejected  by  a  vote  of  the  con- 
gregation. It  was  afterwards  explained  on  behalf  of  the  congregation 
that  in  the  offer  of  ^400  made  to  the  managers  of  the  congregation, 
it  was  understood  that  they  (the  congregation)  should  be  at  the 
expense  of  enclosing  the  gronnd  ;  and  that  at  the  meeting  of  the 
congregation  called  to  decide  upon  the  various  proposals,  it  was 
calculated  by  them  that  a  loss  of  about  ;!^3oo  would  have  been 
incurred  by  a  change  of  site. 

When  Mr.  Salmon,  architect,  was  engaged  in  the  renovation  of 
the  Abbey  in  i860,  he  in  addition  to  preparing  a  view  of  the  Abbey 
as  it  would  be  when  completed  by  the  Abbots,  and  given  in  the 
frontispiece  of  vol.  i.  of  this  work,  also  prepared  a  drawing  of 
the  architectural  elevation  of  the  west  faQade  of  the  edifice  as  it 
would  be  seen  from  the  south  end  of  Saint  Mirren  Street.  We  give 
a  view  of  this  extremely  beautiful  and  imposing  structure.  Both  of 
these  views  appeared  in  the  Builder  of  9th  May,  1863. 

In  December,  1828,  a  great  and  deep  sensation  of  horror  was 
created  in  the  town  by  the  proceedings  of  the  spoliators  of  the 
church -yards,  or  resurrectionists  as  they  Avere  then  termed.  On 
the  morning  of  the  8th  of  that  month,  it  was  discovered  that  they 
had  been  at  work  during  the  previous  night  in  the  burial-ground 
attached  to  the  United  Presbyterian  Church,  Oakshaw  Street.  A 
grave  Avas  found  to  have  been  opened,  and  the  body  of  Helen 
Duncan,  a  young  woman  of  about  twenty -three  years  of  age,  who 
had  died  of  consumption,  and  was  buried  four  days  previously,  had 
been  taken  away.  The  grave  was  left  only  half- filled  up,  and  the 
grave  clothes  were  not  even  hidden  from  sight.  These  circumstances 
led  to  the  discovery  of  the  unhallowed  work  that  had  been  perpe- 
trated. The  distressing  intelligence  having  been  conveyed  to  the 
father  of  the  young  woman,  he  Avent  to  GlasgoAv,  but  his  search 
there  for  the  body  proved  fruitless.  On  returning  home  in  the 
evening,  a  young  man,  residing  in  Back  Sneddon  Street,  communi- 
cated some  circumstances  of  a  suspicious  nature,  Avhich  led  him  to 
believe  that  the  body  had  been  deposited  in  a  garret  adjoining  his 


1S25    TILL    1S50.  233 

house  about  three  o'clock  in  the  morning.  Acting  on  this 
information  the  father  and  uncle  of  the  girl  proceeded  to  the  spot, 
and  while  one  remained  as  a  watch  the  other  went  to  the  police 
office.  The  police  officers  immediately  set  out  for  the  premises, 
and  on  searching  the  garret  found  the  body  tied  up  in  a  sack.  It 
was  brought  down  and  indentified  by  the  relatives  —  their  feelings, 
as  might  be  expected,  were  most  acute ;  but  by  the  prudent 
management  of  the  captain  of  police  they  were  prevented  from 
giving  way  to  any  violent  ebullition  calculated  to  stir  up  popular 
clamour.  The  body  was  first  conveyed  to  the  police  office,  then 
at  midnight  removed  to  the  vestry  of  the  church  at  the  burying- 
ground,  and  next  day  interred.  The  police  had  not  left  the 
premises  more  than  half- an -hour,  when  two  strangers,  muffled  in 
cloaks,  went  up  to  the  garret ;  and  having  borrowed  a  candle  from 
a  woman  in  a  neighbouring  house,  were  heard  rummaging  through 
it;  and  one  was  overheard  saying — "  It  is  off,  let  us  begone."  In 
going  away  they  studiously  concealed  their  faces  from  observation ; 
and  no  men  being  there  at  the  time,  the  women,  though  full  of 
suspicions  that  they  were  concerned  in  the  foul  transaction,  did 
not  oppose  their  flight.  The  garret,  as  has  been  described,  was  a 
lumber-room,  the  door  of  which  was  quite  insecure,  and  could  be 
opened  at  will  by  any  one.  The  whole  matter  was  judicially 
inquired  into,  but  the  body-snatchers  were  never  discovered. 

While  the  feelings  of  the  inhabitants  were  thus  aroused  against 
those  connected  with  this  sacrilegious  action,  they  were  still  further 
shocked  by  the  publication,  during  this  month,  of  the  foul  deeds 
committed  by  Burke  and  Hare  in  Edinburgh.  Although  Burke 
was  only  tried  and  condemned  for  killing  one  person,  yet  it  was 
known,  and  confessed  by  himself  afterwards,  that  he  and  Hare  had, 
within  a  year  or  two,  murdered  seventeen  people,  and  sold  their 
bodies  to  the  anatomists.  The  panic  caused  by  these  deeds  and 
those  of  the  grave  violators,  was  universal.  The  young  were 
unwilling  to  walk  alone  at  night  under  the  fear  that  the  body- 
snatchers  would  put  a  plaster  on  their  mouth  and  carry  them  off  to 
the  dissecting-room.  At  a  private  meeting  of  a  few  persons  to 
consider  what  should  be  done  in  the  circumstances,  they  resolved 
to  call  a  public  meeting  of  the  inhabitants ;  and  the  advertisement, 
dated  17th  January,  1829,  calling  the  meeting,  was  as  follows  : — 

^''Horrid  Murder. — -A  meeting  will  take  place  on  Monday 
evening,  in  the  Burgher  Meeting- House,  George  Street,  at  seven 
o'clock,  to  deliberate  on  the  best  mode  of  expressing  their 
sentiments  on  the  unparalleled  murders  which  have  partially  been 
brought  to  light  in  the  City  of  Edinburgh,  and  to  consider  upon 
other  matters  connected  with  that  subject.  Those  who  feel 
interested  in  a  full  disclosure  of  those  atrocities,  are  respectfully 
invited  to  attend.  By  order  of  the  committee.  James  Orr, 
chairman.     N.B.  — A  collection  will  be  made  at  the  door." 

The  meeting  was  numerously  attended  ;  and  resolved  to  petition 

Q 


234  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

the  King  on  the  subject  of  the  late  murders  in  P^dinburgh,  to  the 
effect  that,  without  respect  of  persons,  every  means  should  be  used 
to  bring  the  authors  and  abettors  of  such  atrocious  deeds  to  condign 
punishment.  Resolutions  were  also  passed  relating  to  the  watching 
at  night  of  all  the  burying -grounds  in  the  town,  and  a  large 
committee  was  appointed  to  carry  out  the  views  of  the  meeting. 
The  abettors  here  referred  to  were  the  doctors  who  bought  the 
subjects.  Seven  days  afterwards  another  public  meeting  was  held, 
to  which  the  committee  formerly  appointed  reported  as  to  the  best 
mode  of  preventing  the  violation  of  the  sepulchres  of  the  dead. 
They  were  of  opinion  that  the  purchasing  of  a  sufficient  number  of 
mort- safes,  corresponding  to  the  mortality  in  the  town,  would  be 
too  expensive ;  and  that  the  best  method  for  protecting  the  dead 
would  be  by  the  nightly  watching  of  the  different  burying- grounds. 
This  recommendation  was  adopted,  and  committees  were  appointed 
to  call  meetings  in  the  different  districts  of  the  town  to  carry  the 
resolution  of  the  meeting  into  effect.  The  inhabitants  entered  into 
the  scheme  of  establishing  a  society  for  the  protection  of  the  dead 
with  the  greatest  spirit  and  unanimity.  The  entry-money  for  each 
member  was  fixed  at  sixpence,  and  the  quarterly  payments  one 
penny.  A  commodious  and  comfortable  wooden  box,  with  a  grate 
for  a  fire  in  it  when  required,  was  placed  in  each  burying-ground, 
and  every  member  took  his  turn  of  watching.  The  enthusiasm  was 
so  great  that  before  a  year  had  passed  there  were,  including 
females,  about  seven  thousand  members.  At  the  half-yearly 
meeting  of  the  society  held  in  April,  1830,  the  funds  were  found 
to  be  in  a  good  condition, — the  income  for  the  half-year  being 
;^'58  9s.  id.,  and  the  expenditure  ;^48  4s.  6d.  The  principal 
expenditure  was  the  officers'  wages,  amounting  to  j[^\2  for  the  half- 
year,  and  about  £^\o  for  coals  and  fire-wood  for  the  watch-boxes. 
The  property  of  the  society,  which  consisted  mostly  of  the  boxes 
for  the  night  watchers,  was  valued  at  ^80. 

On  the  night  of  loth  February,  1 831,  the  church -yard  of  Renfrew 
was  entered  by  grave -despoilers,  who  succeeded  in  disinterring  the 
body  of  Mrs.  Hugh  Glen,  late  wife  of  the  postmaster.  She  had 
been  interred  about  a  month.  This  event,  so  afflicting  to  the 
husband  and  to  her  relations,  caused  a  great  sensation  in  the  Royal 
Burgh,  as  well  as  in  the  neighbouring  towns,  and  crowds  of  people 
congregated  to  see  the  empty  coffin.  The  sepulchre -robbers  left 
the  grave  quite  open  and  the  dead -clothes  scattered  about.  At 
this  time  a  young  lad,  who  was  drowned  in  Lounsdale  dam,  was 
interred  in  the  West  Relief  Church -yard.  A  report  was  very 
widely  circulated  that  the  body  had  been  removed.  The  general 
committee  of  the  Paisley  Society  for  Protecting  the  Dead,  not 
believing  this,  had  the  grave  opened  up  and  satisfied  the  relatives 
of  the  young  man  that  the  grave  had  not  been  disturbed.  These 
circumstances  tended  much  to  show  to  the  inhabitants  the  advantages 
of  this  society,  and  to  satisfy  them  that  there  were  no  spoliations  of 
graves   in   the   burying-grounds   of  Paisley.      At  the   half-yearly 


lS25    TILL    1850.  235 

meeting  of  the  society  held  in  November,  1832,  the  income  of  the 
previous  half-year  was  stated  to  be  ;£2)^  i6s.  yd.,  and  the  expendi- 
ture ;^35  IS.  gd.  It  was  mentioned  at  this  meeting  that  the  mem- 
bers continued  to  turn  out  regularly  to  the  watch  at  the  different 
churchyards,  and  that  the  only  difficulty  experienced  was  in 
procuring  members  to  go  about  regularly  among  the  members  to 
collect  the  quarterly  subscriptions. 

An  act  was  passed  by  the  legislature  relating  to  the  providing  of 
bodies  for  anatomical  examination  ;  and  after  it  had  been  some  time 
in  operation,  the  churchyards  ceased  to  be  disturbed  by  the  grave- 
despoilers,  and  the  minds  of  the  people  were  set  at  rest  on  this 
distressing  question.  The  members  of  the  society  accordingly 
became  gradually  less  punctual  in  their  attendance  at  the  night 
watchings  ;  and  on  ist  August,  1836,  a  meeting  of  the  members  was 
held  in  the  Old  Low  Church  for  the  purpose  of  considering  the 
propriety  of  dissolving  the  society.  The  clerk  reported  to  the 
meeting  that  there  was  a  great  falling  off  in  the  membership  in  all  the 
districts  except  Causeyside,  for  the  number  had  gradually  dwindled 
down  to  under  three  thousand ;  that  notwithstanding  the  great 
exertions  of  the  managers,  funds  could  not  be  procured  to  meet  the 
necessary  expenditure,  and  that  the  society  was  about  ^8  in  debt. 
The  meeting  agreed,  by  a  large  majority,  that  the  operations  of  the 
society  should,  in  the  meantime,  be  suspended ;  and  that  anyone 
having  relations  who  died  should,  if  they  wished,  have  the  use  of 
the  boxes  in  the  burying-grounds  for  the  purpose  of  watching. 

St.  James  Day  Fair  commenced  on  Thursday,  nth  August,  1825, 
with  the  usual  festivities  and  popular  amusements  of  equestrians, 
tumblers,  fiddlers,  fire-eaters,  jugglers,  &c.  But  the  principal 
attraction  as  formerly  was  the  races,  which  took  place  on  Friday. 
At  the  first  race  for  the  "  Bells,"  at  four  o'clock,  only  two  horses 
started  —  Alexander  Barr  of  Wishaw's  chestnut  mare  (rider,  green 
coat  and  red  cap) ;  and  Ronald  Brown's  pony,  Rory  Bean  (rider, 
yellow  sleeves  and  black  cap).  Alexander  Barr  won  easily.  The 
after- shots  were  at  seven  o'clock  —  Alexander  Barr  of  Wishaw's 
brown  mare,  Glasgow  Bet  (rider,  green  livery  and  green  cap),  and 
Rory  Bean.     This  race  was  much  better  contested. 

At  this  and  the  other  Paisley  fairs  a  curious  custom  prevailed  of 
having  bonfires  or  tawnles.  There  are  none  of  these  observances  at 
the  present  day,  but  they  were  the  relics  of  a  time  immemorial. 
These  bonfires  were  lighted  on  small  artificial  mounds  formed  in  the 
river  above  the  Old  Bridge.  The  youths  of  the  town  for  weeks  pre- 
vious to  every  recurring  fair  solicited  money  from  anyone  passing 
along  the  streets  to  defray  the  expense  connected  with  these  bon- 
fires. With  the  money  obtained  in  this  Avay  they  bought  coals, 
wood,  and  old  barrels ;  and  on  the  Wednesday  night  before  the 
Thursday  Fair  the  tawnles  were  kindled.  It  was  a  pleasing  sight  to 
see  the  merry  youths  on  these  islets  dancing  round  the  blazing  fires 
which  had  taken  them  weeks  to  prepare.     The  ancient  Druids  had 


236  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

four  great  festivals  yearly  at  which  great  fires  were  lighted  —  in 
February,  May,  August,  and  November  —  and  it  is  believed  that 
these  tawnles  on  the  nights  prior  to  the  fairs  were  a  relique  of 
Druidical  worship. 

In  1827  the  race -course  by  Underwood,  as  already  described, 
was  abandoned  ;  and  the  new  course  adopted  was  the  road 
round  the  present  course.  It  was  an  improvement  upon  the  former 
one,  but  still  in  many  places  it  was  bounded  by  some  deep  ditches. 
The  St.  James  Race  took  place  for  the  "  Bells  "  or  ^2  2s.  on  the 
loth  August  in  this  year.  Four  horses  started  ;  and  Mr.  Aitken's 
bay  mare  from  Irvine  won  the  "  Bells."  Mr.  William  Howie's  bay 
mare  won  the  second  prize,  los.  6d.  The  after-race,  which  started 
at  seven  o'clock,  was  won  by  Mr.  Howie's  mare  which  had  run  in 
the  former  race.  At  both  races  there  was  a  very  great  concourse  of 
people.  No  accidents  occurred.  On  the  following  day  (Saturday) 
the  first  race,  for  a  purse  of  ^^  5s.,  was  run  in  heats,  and  was  gained 
by  Mr.  Aitken's  bay  mare,  Spitfire.  Three  horses  started.  In  the 
first  heat  Mr.  Mullen's  bay  gelding  fell  near  the  distance-post. 
From  the  fact  that  the  Saturday  races  were  not  generally  known, 
the  attendance  was  not  so  great  as  on  the  previous  day.  As  the 
races  had  given  so  much  satisfaction  at  this  time,  the  Provost  and 
Magistrates  gave  permission  for  more  races  being  run  on  the  23rd 
of  the  same  month,  being  the  colt  market  day  in  Paisley.  The 
races  commenced  on  that  day  at  half- past  twelve.  The  first  race 
was  for  a  silver  cup  or  ^10  los.  Four  horses  started,  and  the  race 
was  won  by  Spitfire,  belonging  to  Mr.  Aitken.  The  second  in  this 
race  received  thirty  shillings,  and  the  third  ten  shillings.  The 
second  race  began  at  half- past  five  o'clock,  and  five  horses  started. 
The  race  was  won  by  Mr.  Dick's  Creeping  Kate,  which  secured 
;£^  ;  Mr.  Baine's  Lucky  was  second,  and  ;£i  was  awarded.  Mr. 
Morrison's  horse.  Orphan,  broke  his  leg,  and  in  consequence  of  this 
accident  he  got  ^^2.  The  weather  was  remarkably  fine;  and 
though  a  great  multitude  of  people  thronged  the  ground  not  a  single 
casualty  occurred.  The  corners  of  the  new  race -course  were  rather 
sharp,  and  the  Council,  on  an  application  from  those  promoting  the 
races,  allowed  them  on  22nd  July,  1828,  "  to  be  improved  by  taking 
as  much  ground,  not  exceeding  two  or  three  falls,  as  may  be  neces- 
sary to  round  two  of  the  turns."  The  intimation  relating  to  the 
races  in  August,  1828,  was  as  follows  : — 

"Horse  Racing. —  Paisley  New  Course. — Subscription -purses  for 
;^5  to^2owillbe  run  in  heats  over  the  new  course  (which  has  been 
formed  at  very  considerable  expense)  on  Friday,  15th,  and  Saturday, 
1 6th  August.  The  conditions  will  be  seen  in  the  hands  of  Mr.  Fraser, 
Saracen's  Head  Inn.  The  horses  to  be  run  must  be  booked  on  the 
day  preceding  the  race.  N.B. — The  race  for  the  '  Silver  Bells '  and 
an  after-race  by  the  beat  horses  will  take  place  on  Friday  as  usual." 

For  the  first  race  at  twelve  o'clock  (prize,  £^\o  los.)  six  horses 
started,  and  the  first  heat  was  won  by  Mr.  William  Smith's  brown 


1825    TILL    1850.  237 

horse,  Stag ;  but  the  next  two  heats  were  won  by  the  Dairy  Maid, 
owned  by  Mr.  Hugh  Kelly  of  Dairy.  For  the  "  Silver  Bells "  at 
four  o'clock  five  horses  started,  and  they  were  won  by  Mr.  Barr  of 
Wishaw,  this  being  the  tenth  year  he  carried  them  off.  At  the 
after-shots  at  six  o'clock  two  horses  started,  and  the  race  was  won 
by  Mr.  Smith's  horse.  Win -if- you -Can.  Numerous  scaffolds  and 
mounds  were  erected  along  the  course  to  afford  every  opportunity 
for  seeing  the  sport  to  pedestrians,  while  horsemen  and  equipages, 
of  which  there  was  a  great  display,  found  in  another  quarter  suitable 
accommodation.  There  were  also  numerous  booths  and  tents 
scattered  over  the  ground  for  providing  refreshments.  The  Magis- 
trates in  a  body  attended  on  the  occasion,  and  occupied  a  stand 
tastefully  decorated  in  a  position  which  commanded  a  view  of  the 
whole  course.  The  crowds  which  attended  were  immense,  being 
estimated  at  from  ten  to  fifteen  thousand.  The  first  race  on  the 
following  day  (Saturday)  was  at  twelve  o'clock,  for  a  purse  of  twenty 
sovereigns.  Four  horses  started,  and  that  race  was  won  by  Mr. 
Kelly's  Dairy  Maid.  The  five  o'clock  race  was  for  a  purse  of  ten 
sovereigns,  and  Mr.  Smith's  horse.  Stag,  was  the  winner.  The 
stewards  gave  £,2  2%.  for  a  race  run  immediately  after  the  twenty- 
sovereign  race,  and  it  was  won  by  Mr.  Barr's  mare.  Three  horses 
started.  I'he  stewards  also  gave  three  sovereigns  for  a  race  after 
the  one  for  ten  sovereigns.  Two  horses  started,  and  Mr.  Smith's 
horse  was  the  winner.  A  foot-race  was  run  for  15s.  to  the  winner 
and  5s.  to  the  second.  Seven  started,  and  the  race  afforded  great 
amusement.  The  weather  was  very  fine,  and  the  number  of  people  at 
the  race  was  very  great,  being  computed  at  from  25,000  to  30,000. 

The  races  on  Friday,  14th  August,  1829,  were  well  attended, 
although  the  weather  was  not  favourable.  Seven  horses  started  for 
the  race  for  ten  sovereigns  at  twelve  o'clock.  Mr.  Brown's  Candour 
was  the  winner.  On  starting  one  of  the  horses  came  in  contact  with 
a  boy  crossing  the  course,  and  falling  broke  its  neck  and  died 
instantly.  The  boy  and  the  rider  escaped  unhurt.  The  "  Silver  Bells  " 
at  four  o'clock  were  won  by  Mr.  M'Fadyen's  Tally-ho.  Five  horses 
started  in  the  race.  For  several  days  previous  to  the  races  a  num- 
ber of  horses  were  exercising  on  the  race-course,  and  one  morning 
a  favourite  Irish  horse,  from  which  great  things  were  expected, 
while  taking  its  airing  stumbled  and  dislocated  its  shoulder.  The 
following  morning  another  horse  somewhat  vicious,  shying  at  some 
object,  threw  its  rider  over  its  head  into  a  ditch  and  scampered  off 
full  speed  along  the  road.  The  races  of  the  following  day  far 
exceeded  those  of  Friday,  and  the  number  present  could  not  be 
estimated  at  less  than  from  fifteen  thousand  to  twenty  thousand. 
Five  horses  started  in  the  race  for  ten  sovereigns  at  twelve  o'clock. 
At  four  o'clock  the  "  Silver  Bells  "  were  won  by  Mr.  Lindsay's  Bit- 
of- Tartan.  Three  horses  started ;  and  at  six  o'clock  three  horses 
started.  The  races  advertised  to  take  place  at  St.  James  Day  Fair 
in  August,  1830,  were  as  follows  : — 

"  Paisley  St.  James  Day  Races. — The  following  races  will  take 


238  HI.^TORV  OF  PAlsLEV. 

place  on  the  new  course  on  Friday  the  13th  and  Saturday  the  14th 
of  August,  1830: — Friday^  J^Jf^h  twelve  o'clock  noon:  Race  for 
ten  sovereigns,  to  be  run  in  heats  ;  second  horse  in  winning  heat, 
one  sovereign.  Four  o'clock  :  The  annual  race  for  the  '  Silver 
Bells,'  given  by  the  Town  of  Paisley.  Six  o'clock :  The  after- 
shots,  by  the  best  horses  in  the  '  Silver  Bells '  race,  for  a  purse  of 
gold.  Saturday,  14th,  twelve  o'clock  noon  :  Race  for  ten  sover- 
eigns, to  be  run  for  in  heats ;  second  horse  in  winning  heat,  one 
sovereign.  Five  o'clock :  Race  for  the  beat  horses  in  the  above 
race  for  five  sovereigns,  to  be  run  in  heats  ;  second  horse  in  winning 
heat,  if  three  horses  start,  one  sovereign.  Horses  to  run  on  Friday 
must  be  booked  at  Mr.  Fraser's,  Saracen's  Head  Inn,  on  Thursday  ; 
and  those  to  run  on  Saturday  must  be  booked  on  Friday,  by  eight 
o'clock  p.m.  both  days,  or  be  subjected  to  double  booking-money. 
Mr.  Fraser  will  show  the  articles.  N.B. — By  order  of  the  Magis- 
trates, no  tents,  scaffolds,  or  other  erections  will  be  allowed  in  the 
parks  belonging  to  the  community  within  the  race  ground ;  nor 
carts,  carriages,  or  any  other  obstructions  upon  the  course." 
Fewer  horses  entered  for  these  different  races,  and  the  spectators 
were  not  so  numerous  as  in  the  two  previous  years  ;  but  every- 
thing went  off  quietly,  and  there  were  no  accidents.^ 

The  advertisement  regarding  the  races  to  take  place  at  St.  James 
Day  Fair  on  13th  and  14th  August,  1831,  was  precisely  the  same 
as  the  one  for  the  previous  year.  As  for  the  races  themselves,  there 
was  not  any  new  feature  connected  with  them. 

^  Andrew  Kinloch,  a  jockey,  better  known  by  the  name  of  "  f^iday,"  rode  at 
these  races,  and  the  following  letter  of  his  relating  to  them  appeared  in  the 
Paisley  Advertiser  of  the  2 1st  of  that  month  : — 

"  The  Catastrophe  of  the  Paisley  Races.  —  Mr.  Editor, — On  Monday  last, 
through  the  course  of  the  day,  I  was  attacked  by  all  the  ignoramuses  of  Seestu, 
and  upbraided  for  being  bribed  and  behaving  like  a  thief  on  Friday  and  Saturday 
Fair  days  ;  but  how  they  came  to  say  this  I  know  not,  but  this  I  can  say,  that  I 
did  all  in  my  power  to  win  the  different  races,  and  took  the  turns  of  the  course 
like  a  compass.  In  doing  so  I  tore  my  breeches  and  cut  my  leg  severely.  I  was 
also  struck  to  the  effusion  of  my  blood  by  a  cowardly  person,  in  consequence  of 
his  having  been  told  by  the  owner  of  the  mare  I  rode  that  I  had  been  bribed. 
All  I  can  say  to  the  said  owner  is,  that  he  knows  as  much  about  horse -racing  as 
a  cow.  I  have  now  been  a  rider  at  horse-races  upwards  of  ten  years,  and  in 
that  time  I  have  rode  250  races,  gained  195,  lost  55,  won;i^450;  and  yet  to  be 
called  a  thief  I  think  is  very  unhandsome  and  ungentlemanlike.  I  defy  any  man, 
woman,  or  child  to  say,  or  even  to  hint,  that  I  ever  in  my  life  was  bribed,  took 
a  bribe,  or  asked  a  bribe  ;  nor  never  will  as  long  as  my  name  is  Friday.  Let 
every  rogue  shake  his  own  paw,  and  it  will  be  a  New- Year- Day  morning  about 
the  head  of  Cotton  Street  ;  'evil  doers  are  evil  thinkers,'  and  that  is  the  case 
with  him  who  has  attempted  to  injure  me  in  my  feelings  and  reputation.  I  have 
also  been  attacked  by  a  number  of  the  daft,  delirious,  demented,  and  silly- 
minded  idiots,  who  said  that  I  am  a  rascal ;  their  conscience  is  glee'd  that  said 
so.  The  only  proof  that  they  have  against  me  is,  that  when  I  took  the  turn  at 
the  starting-post  I  jockeyed  the  Doctor  off  the  road.  In  so  doing  I  lost  my 
switch  ;  and  the  mare  having  nm  every  race  on  Friday  and  Saturday,  and  on 
account  of  this  she  had  no  speed  ;  and  when  all  is  put  together,  I  think  it  will 
be  an  excuse  for  him  (the  Doctor)  passing  me. — I  am.  Sir,  with  much  resjiect.  a 
true-hearted  sportsman,  Friday." 


1825    TILL    1850.  239 

In  1832,  when  the  cholera  disease  was  prevalent  in  this  town,  the 
Town  Council,  by  the  desire  of  the  Board  of  Health,  agreed  "  that 
the  whole  races  be  prohibited  at  the  ensuing  fair,  that  no  show 
exhibitions  be  allowed  to  enter  the  town,  and  that  every  other  law- 
ful means  be  resorted  to  in  order  to  remove  or  prevent  the  causes 
of  dissipation"  (Council  Records,  26th  July,  1832).  These  resolu- 
tions were  widely  advertised  and  strictly  carried  out. 

For  the  races  of  Friday  and  Saturday,  the  9th  and  loth  August, 

1833,  increased  sums  were  offered  to  the  winners.  For  the  race  at 
twelve  o'clock  on  Friday  the  sum  was  raised  from  ten  to  twenty 
sovereigns,  and  for  the  race  at  the  same  hour  on  Saturday  fifteen 
instead  of  ten  sovereigns  were  given.  Great  preparations  were 
made  for  these  races.  The  number  of  tents  at  the  race-course 
exceeded  any  previously  seen,  there  having  been  about  seventy  of 
them.  The  turn-out  of  race-horses  was  numerous,  and  the  contests 
were  regarded  as  good.  Five  horses  started  in  the  race  at  twelve 
o'clock,  and  it  was  won  by  Mr.  Gray's  Border  Lass.  Four  horses 
ran  for  the  "  Silver  Bells,"  and  the  winner  was  Mr.  Morrison's 
Falkirk  Maid.  The  horse  ridden  by  Friday,  who  boasted  in  his 
letter  that  he  "  took  the  turns  in  the  course  like  a  compass,"  in 
taking  one  of  the  turns  too  sharply  came  in  contact  with  the  fence, 
and  received  rather  a  serious  injury.  A  man  was  also  knocked 
down  and  cut  about  the  face,  but  not  severely.  On  Saturday  the 
racing  horses  were  not  so  numerous ;  but  the  weather  was  favour- 
able, and  the  attendance  of  visitors  at  the  course  greater  than  it 
had  been  for  several  years. ^ 

The  committee  of  gentlemen  who  took  charge  of  the  races  at  this 
time  were  desirous  of  still  further  improving  the  race-course.  They 
were  satisfied  from  what  had  transpired  that,  if  this  were  done,  a 
much  better  class  of  horses  would  be  brought  forward.     In  March, 

1834,  they  applied  to  the  Council  to  lease  ground  to  them  within 
the  course,  their  object  being  to  take  the  race-course  ultimately 
altogether  from  the  public  roads,  and  to  form  a  new  course.  The 
application  of  the  Race  Committee  was  remitted  to  a  committee  of 
the  Council,  who  afterwards,  on  the  2nd  April,  asked  the  Council 
to  permit  them  to  confer  with  the  Race  Committee  as  to  the  terms 
on  which  a  lease  should  be  granted.  A  member  of  Council  moved 
— "  That,  understanding  that  the  Council  is  under  the  necessity  of 
sanctioning  one  day's  racing  in  the  year,  there  ought  to  be  no  further 
encouragement  granted  to  the  practice."  An  amendment  was  carried 
"  that  the  committee  be  authorised  to  treat  with  the  Racing  Com- 

'  The  amount  of  amusement  furnished  to  the  inhabitants  at  this  fair  exceeded 
anything  of  the  kind  for  the  previous  twenty  years.  There  wei^e  fifteen  Water- 
loo-flys  and  merry-go-rounds,  Buckley's  Exhibition,  Mumford's  Theatre  of 
Arts,  PaviHon  of  Novehy,  Steel's  Minor  Theatre,  Scott's  Royal  Pantheon,  glass- 
blowing  and  working  in  miniature,  scriptural  and  historical  paintings  ;  Wallace, 
the  Scotch  gigantic  youth,  ;  the  surprising  giantess ;  the  astonishing  child, 
born  without  hands  or  arms  ;  Wombwell's  royal  collection  of  quadrupeds, 
reptiles,  and  birds,  %vild  and  tame,  with  a  lion  and  tiger  occupying  the  same 
cage. 


240  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

mittee  for  a  lease  of  the  ground  wanted,  upon  the  understanding 
that  there  is  to  be  racing  upon  two  days,  viz.,  upon  the  Friday  and 
Saturday  of  St.  James  Day  Fair,  from  twelve  noon  till  sunset."  On 
the  22nd  of  this  month  the  Council,  on  the  recommendation  of  the 
Property  Committee,  let  certain  fields  within  the  race-course  at  an 
annual  rent  of  ;^54  iis.  id.;  and  in  December  following  the  Coun- 
cil let  more  ground  to  the  Race  Committee. 

The  announcement  for  the  races  on  15th  and  i6th  August,  1834, 
was  in  every  respect  the  same  as  in  the  preceding  year.  On  this 
occasion  there  was  nothing  novel  in  connection  with  the  races. 
Four  horses  started  in  the  race  at  twelve  o'clock  on  Friday,  and  it 
was  won  by  Mr.  R.  Cumming's  mare,  Little-Thought -Of.  The  same 
number  ran  in  the  "  Bell "  race,  and  it  was  won  by  Joseph  Miller's 
brown  mare,  Maggy.  On  the  following  day  the  number  of  horses 
that  ran  was  about  the  same,  but  the  spectators  were  fewer  than  in 

In  1835  some  alterations  were  made  in  the  advertisement 
regarding  the  races.  The  stakes  for  the  race  at  twelve  o'clock,  on 
Friday,  were  raised  to  thirty  guineas  ;  and  for  the  winner  of  the 
"  Silver  Bells,"  eight  guineas  were  added  by  the  committee.  On 
Saturday  the  horses  in  the  race  at  twelve  o'clock  were  to  be  the 
bona-fide  property  of  gentlemen  residing  in  the  Counties  of  Lanark 
or  Renfrew.  At  two  o'clock  the  race  was  to  be  for  twenty  guineas, 
and  the  winner  of  the  race  at  twelve  o'clock  in  the  previous  day  was 
to  be  excluded.  Five  horses  started  for  the  first  race  on  Friday, 
which  was  won  by  Mr.  Morrison's  Miss  Hope ;  and  the  same 
number  for  the  "  Silver  Bells,"  Mr.  Morrison's  Wombwell  being  the 
winner.  A  great  number  of  people  from  Glasgow  and  the  district 
round  about  Paisley  attended  the  races,  and  it  was  estimated  that 
there  would  be  forty  thousand  people  assembled  on  the  race-course. 
There  were  upwards  of  sixty  tents  ;  and  the  erections  for  people  to 
view  the  races  were  on  a  large  scale,  amounting  to  a  dozen  in  all. 
The  races  presented  a  more  than  usually  animated  scene.  The 
hustings  were  all  completely  crowded.  Immense  numbers  thronged 
the  parks,  and  the  adjacent  roads  were  covered  with  horses,  carts, 
gigs,  and  carriages  of  all  descriptions.  The  order  maintained  was 
greatly  superior  to  that  of  any  former  year.  The  patronage  this 
year  was  also  more  liberal  than  formerly,  nearly  all  the  nobility  of 
the  county  having  contributed  to  the  race  funds.  New  arrangements 
were  carried  out  by  the  committee.  A  bell  was  rung  to  clear  the 
course,  to  warn  to  saddle,  and  to  confirm  the  starting;  and  this 
proved  a  decided  improvement,  for  it  let  all  know  what  was  to  be 
done. 

In  December  of  this  year  additional  ground  was  acquired  by  the 
Race  Committee  from  the  Council  with  the  view  of  still  further 
improving  the  race -course. 

The  published  placard  of  the  races  that  took  place  at  St.  James 
Day  Fair  in  1836,  was  very  different  from  any  of  the  preceding 
ones,  and  these  differences  were  of  importance.     The  number  of 


1825    TILL    1850.  241 

the  races  was  increased,  as  well  as  the  amount  of  the  prizes ;  and 
the  Stewards,  under  whose  auspices  the  races  were  conducted,  now 
advertised  for  the  first  time,  embraced  the  first  noblemen  in  the 
country.  The  advertisement  by  the  Race  Committee  is  so 
important,  that  we  give  it  entire.     It  is  as  follows : — 

PAISLEY    RACES,    1836. 
These  races  take  place  on  Friday  and  Saturday,  the  I2th  and  13th  days  of 

August  next. 

Stewards — 

The  Right  Hon.  the  Earl  of  Eglinton, 

Archibald  Hastie,  Esq.,  M.P. 

Alexander  Speirs,  Esq.,  M.P. 

The  Right  Hon.  Viscount  Kelburne. 

Sir  James  Boswell,  Bart. 

W.  M.  Alexander,  Esq.  of  Southbar. 

George  Houston,  Esq.,  Yr.  of  Johnstone  Castle. 

Friday,  is  o'clock. 

The  Burgh  Member's  Plate  of  50  guineas.  Heats.  Two  miles  and  distance. 
Weights  —  3-year-olds,  7st.  5lbs. ;  4  do.,  gst.  lib.;  6  and  aged,  gst.  4lbs. 

Same  Day. — The  Hunters'  Stakes  of  10  sovereigns  each  p.  p.,  with  20  sovereigns 
added  by  the  committee  for  horses  that  have  been  hunted  with  Lord  Kelburne's 
hounds  at  least  three  times  during  the  last  season.  No  horse  to  be  allowed  to 
start  that  is  not  actually  a  hunter.  Gentlemen  riders,  weight  I2st.  ylbs.  Heats. 
Two  miles.  Six  subscribers.  But  only  the  following  gentlemen  are  named : — 
A.  W.  Speirs,  Esq.;  James  Merry,  jun.,  Esq.;  Alexander  Fletcher,  Esq.; 
Alexander  Cunningham,  Esq. 

Same  Day. — The  "Silver  Bells,"  given  by  the  Town  of  Paisley,  with  10 
sovereigns  added  by  the  committee.  Open  to  all  horses.  Three -year -olds,  7st. 
gib.;  4  do.,  gst.;  5  do.,  gst.  gib.;  6  and  aged,  lost.  Heats.  Twice  round  and 
from  the  north-west  corner  home.  Second  horse  in  winning  heat  (provided 
three  start)  to  be  allowed  3  sovereigns. 

Same  Day. — The  "  Aftershots,"  for  a  purse,  by  the  beaten  horses  in  the  Bell 
race.     Two  miles  and  quarter.     Weights  as  in  said  race. 

Saturday,  12  o'clock. 

The  Glasgow  Subscribers'  Cup  of  50  sovereigns,  added  to  a  sweepstake  of  5 
sovereigns  each  p.  p.  Three -year -olds,  7st.  Slbs. ;  4  do.,  8st.  ylbs. ;  5  do  ,  gst. 
lib.;  6  and  aged,  gst.  4lbs.     Heats.     Two  miles  and  distance. 

Same  Day. — The  Yeomanry  Stakes  of  2  sovereigns  each  p.  p.,  with  a  sum 
added.  Open  to  two  horses  from  each  troop  of  the  Renfrewshire  Yeomanry, 
and  which  shall  have  done  regular  duty  during  the  current  year.  The  winner 
and  second  horse  in  each  troop  race,  provided  such  shall  have  taken  place,  to 
have  the  preference.  The  length  of  the  race  and  weights  to  be  afterwards 
determined. 

Same  Day. — The  Paisley  Subscription  Cup  of  50  sovereigns.  Heats,  i  Mile 
and  quarter.  Three -year -olds,  7st.  gibs.;  4  do.,  gst.  gibs.;  6  and  aged,  lost. 
The  winners  of  each  of  the  Member's  Plate  and  Glasgow  Cup  to  carry  5lbs.  extra. 


242  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Same  Day. — A  Free  Handicap  of  8  sovereigns  each,  with  lo  sovereigns  added 
by  the  committee  for  the  beaten  horses  of  the  week.  The  weights  to  be 
declared  immediately  after  the  previous  race.     One  mile  and  a  quarter. 

Same  Day. — Match  for  50  sovereigns. 

The  entries  for  the  Member's  Plate,  Glasgow  and  Paisley  Cups,  and  "Silver 
Bells,"  to  be  made  with  the  Secretary  by  two  o'clock  of  the  day  previous  to  the 
running.  Entry -money  for  the  Member's  Plate  and  Cups  2  sovereigns,  5s.  to 
the  Clerk,  and  2s.  for  weights.  Entry -money  for  the  other  races  in  proportion. 
The  money  added  to  each  of  the  stakes  to  be  M'ithdrawn  if  walked  over  for. 

Mares  and  geldings  to  be  allowed  3lbs. ;  and  a  winner  during  the  present  year, 
previous  to  the  day  of  entry,  of  50  sovereigns,  to  carry  3lbs.  extra.  A  winner  of 
100  sovereigns  to  carry  5lbs.  extra.  The  races  to  start  each  day  at  twelve 
o'clock,  and  half-an-hour  will  be  allowed  between  each  heat  and  race.  The  bell 
will  be  rung  for  saddling,  and  again  for  starting;  and  five  minutes  thereafter 
the  horses  at  the  post  will  be  started  M'ithout  waiting  for  others. 

On  ringing  for  saddling  the  course  will  be  cleared,  and  anyone  attempting  to 
cross  will  be  taken  into  custody. 

These  and  the  rules  of  York  and  Doncaster  will  be  strictly  adhered  to;  and 
all  disputes  will  be  subject  to  the  final  determination  of  the  Stewards,  or  those 
they  may  appoint. 

All  dogs  found  on  the  course  will  be  destroyed. 

John  Auld,  Secretary. 

N.B.  —  Stances  for  tents  or  scaffolds  may  still  be  had  on  application  to  the 
Secretary,  No.  5  Moss  Street,  Paisley. 

The  ground  let  by  public  roup  this  year  by  the  Race  Committee 
for  tents  and  stances  at  the  race-course  realised  ;^i2o.  In  the 
previous  year  they  had  amounted  to  ;^73.  At  the  race  at  noon  on 
Friday  eight  horses  started,  and  the  winner  was  the  Earl  of 
Eglinton's  Aeolus.  Four  horses  started  at  the  Hunters'  Stakes 
which  followed,  and  Mr.  A.  W.  Speirs's  Silvan  won ;  and  four  horses 
started  at  the  Bell  race,  which  was  won  by  Mr.  Smellie's  Cistercian. 
On  the  following  day  (Saturday)  three  horses  started  at  the  tirst 
race,  w  hich  was  won  by  Mr.  W.  R.  Ramsay's  Forester ;  and  at  the 
second  race  five  horses,  when  Mr.  Smellie's  Cistercian  won.  The 
Yeomanry  race  did  not  take  place,  no  horses  having  come  forward. 
Likewise  the  race  for  the  Handicap  of  three  sovereigns  was,  for  want 
of  competitors,  not  run.  The  match  for  fifty  sovereigns  was  con- 
tested by  Mr.  Merry  and  Mr.  Bonar,  but  the  horse  belonging  to  the 
former  gentleman  fell  and  was  killed.  Mr.  Merry  himself  was  con- 
siderably hurt,  but  not  dangerously.  With  this  exception  no  accident 
occurred. 

The  proceedings  at  the  race- course  on  this  occasion  were  of  a 
more  animated  nature  than  usual,  and  the  races  attained  much 
greater  celebrity  on  account  of  the  excellence  of  the  course  and  the 
number  of  distinguished  persons  in  attendance.  Among  the 
numerous  conspicuous  persons  on  the  course  were  the  Earl  of 
Eglinton,  Lord  Kelburne,  Sir  James  Boswell,  W.  M.  Alexander  of 
Southbar,  Mr.  Fleming  of  Barochan,  Mr.  Ramsay  of  Barnton ;  Sir 


1 82  5    TILL     1850.  243 

W.  Napier,  Bart,  of  Milliken  and  family;  Mr.  Cunningham  of 
Craigends  ;  Mr.  W.  Macdowall  of  Garthland ;  Mr.  W.  Houston, 
Johnstone  Castle ;  Colonel  Harvey  of  Castlesemple  and  family ; 
Alexander  Oswald,  Younger  of  Shieldhall ;  Professor  Wilson  and 
family ;  Thomas  Campbell,  Esq.,  the  poet.  Ten  stances,  exclusive 
of  the  mound,  were  erected  for  witnessing  the  races ;  and  the 
refreshment  tents  numbered  about  fifty. 

It  was  difficult  to  estimate  the  number  of  persons  forming  the 
immense  crowd  that  attended  the  races,  but  it  was  certainly  much 
greater  than  had  ever  been  witnessed  on  any  similar  occasion.  The 
prevailing  estimate  was  fifty  thousand.  The  Stewards  expressed 
themselves  much  pleased  with  the  whole  arrangements  of  the 
committee,  and  subscribed  120  guineas,  to  be  added  to  the  races  in 
1837.  They  also  subscribed  to  various  other  races  to  the  extent  of 
about  ^200  ;  and  further,  in  order  to  encourage  the  breed  of 
horses,  subscribed  to  races,  for  two  and  three -year -old  horses,  for 
the  years  1839  and  1840. 

In  the  following  month  the  Council,  after  a  conference  of  a  com- 
mittee of  their  number  with  the  Race  Committee,  agreed  to  allow 
that  committee  to  erect  a  permanent  stand  adjoining  the  Greenock 
Road  upon  the  race-grounds;  and  to  remove  the  same  at  the  end 
of  the  lease,  if  not  taken  by  the  Town  Council  at  a  valuation.  The 
Council  also  agreed  to  allow  the  winner  of  the  "  Silver  Bells "  to 
retain  possession  of  them  for  a  year,  on  security  being  given  for 
returning  them.  The  Council  also  agreed  that  the  Fair  called  St. 
James  Day  Fair,  which  has  latterly  been  held  within  the  burgh  upon 
the  second  Thursday  of  August  and  two  following  days,  shall  hereafter 
be  held  upon  the  third  Thursday  of  August  and  two  following  days 
yearly,  and  appointed  this  alteration  to  be  duly  advertised.  On 
25th  October  in  this  year,  a  motion  was  made  that  the  races  be  run 
on  Thursday  and  Friday  instead  of  Friday  and  Saturday,  but  an 
amendment  was  carried  that  there  should  be  no  change.  But  on 
13th  December  following,  this  subject  was  again  brought  before  the 
Council  by  the  Secretary  to  the  Race  Committee,  when  the  Council 
agreed  that  the  races  at  St.  James  Day  Fair  should  be  altered  from 
Friday  and  Saturday  to  Thursday  and  Friday.  The  Council,  in 
fixing  the  conditions  of  the  lease  on  27th  December  resolved  that, 
while  it  was  their  opinion  that  there  should  not  be  more  than  two 
days'  racing,  the  particular  days  should  not  be  specified  in  the  lease. 

The  racing  in  1837  took  place  on  the  17th  and  i8th  August. 
The  stewards  were  the  same  as  in  the  previous  year,  and  there  was 
an  additional  number  of  races.  At  the  first  race  at  twelve  o'clock 
on  Thursday,  called  the  Paisley  St.  Leger  Stakes  of  twenty -five 
sovereigns  each,  with  fifty  sovereigns  added  from  the  Race  Fund, 
three  horses  started,  when  Mr.  Merry's  Bederston  won.  Five 
horses  ran  for  the  Burgh  Member's  Plate  of  fifty  guineas,  given  by 
A.  Hastie,  Esq.,  M.P.  for  the  Burgh.  It  was  won  by  Sir  Wm.  Scott's 
The  Count.  The  next  race  was  the  Glasgow  Cup  (specie),  value 
two  hundred  sovereigns,  added  to  a  stake  of  twenty-five  sovereigns 


244  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

from  the  Race  Fund.  Only  one  horse  (Mr.  Ramsay's  Vestment) 
was  brought  forward  and  walked  over  the  course.  Seven  horses 
started  for  the  Paisley  Cup  (specie),  value  one  hundred  sovereigns. 
It  was  won  by  Earl  of  Eglinton's  Potentate.  On  the  second  day 
(Friday)  the  first  race  was  for  the  "  Silver  Bells,"'  with  one  hundred 
and  twenty  sovereigns  added  by  the  stewards  of  the  previous  year, 
and  three  horses  ran.  It  was  won  by  Mr.  Houston's  Inheritor, 
The  Glasgow  Plate  of  fifty  sovereigns  was  the  next  race,  and  eight 
horses  started.  It  was  won  by  Sir  James  Boswell's  Sunbeam. 
Three  horses  ran  for  the  Gold  Cup,  by  subscription  of  fifteen  sover- 
eigns added  from  the  Race  Fund.  It  also  was  won  by  the  Earl  of 
Eglinton's  Potentate.  Then  followed  a  sweepstake  of  twenty  sover- 
eigns each,  with  twenty  sovereigns  added  from  the  Race  Fund. 
Two  horses  ran,  and  Mr.  Ramsay's  Centurion  won.  Afterwards 
came  the  Hunters'  Stakes  of  ten  sovereigns  each,  with  twenty 
sovereigns  from  the  fund.  As  only  one  horse  came  forward,  there 
was  a  walk  over  the  course  by  Mr.  Cossar's  Conservative.  The 
day's  racing  was  brought  to  a  close  by  the  after-shots,  and  two 
horses  started.  It  was  won  by  Sir  James  Boswell's  Bella.  The 
following  amongst  others  had  horses  running  at  these  races  : — Earl 
of  Eglinton,  Lord  Kelburne,  Sir  James  Boswell,  Lord  Rosslyn,  Sir 
William  Scott,  Mr.  Merry,  Mr.  Ramsay  of  Barnton. 

The  races  that  year  were  superior  to  any  that  had  ever  been  held 
at  St.  James  Day  Fair,  and,  it  may  be  safely  stated,  they  had  arrived 
at  the  highest  pinnacle  of  their  fame.  The  amount  of  the  prizes  run 
for,  the  number  of  good  horses,  the  immense  crowd  of  spectators, 
the  extent  of  accommodation  provided  for  them,  the  excellent  con- 
dition of  the  course,  and  the  favourable  state  of  the  weather  —  all 
combined  to  confer  a  degree  of  attractiveness  on  the  races  never 
before  equalled  in  Scotland.  A  professional  judge  (Mr.  Orton) 
acted  for  the  first  time  at  these  races.  There  were  sixteen  stands 
for  witnessing  the  races,  and  about  one  hundred  regular  tents. 
Among  the  tents  on  the  field  was  one  called  "  The  St.  James  Club- 
house." It  was  a  branch  of  one  of  the  gambling  establishments 
in  London.  Rouge-et-noir  and  roulette  were  the  kinds  of  game 
carried  on.  Refreshments  were  given,  and  much  politeness  was 
shown  to  the  visitors,  many  of  whom  hazarded  their  money, 
and,  as  a  matter  of  course,  lost  it.  Mr.  Orton,  who  had  much  ex- 
perience in  these  matters,  was  of  opinion  that  on  Thursday  there 
were  present  not  fewer  than  110,000  to  115,000  persons.  On 
Friday  the  number  was  greater  by  several  thousands.  On  both 
days  the  front  and  back  seats  of  the  grand  stand  were  filled  in  their 
whole  length  with  female  rank  and  fashion,  and  the  space  behind 
was  occupied  by  several  noblemen  and  many  gentlemen  of  distinc- 
tion. Among  these  were  the  Earl  of  Rosslyn,  the  Earl  of  Eglinton, 
Viscount  Kelburne,  Lord  Seymour,  Sir  William  Scott,  Sir  W.  M. 
Napier,  Bart.;  George  Houston,  Esq.,  M.P.;  Colonel  Crawfurd, 
Alexander  Speirs,  Esq.,  M.P.;  Claud  Alexander,  Esq.  of  Balloch- 
niylc;  W.  M.  Alexander,  Esq.  of  Southbar;  William  Macdowall, 


1825    TILL    1850.  245 

Esq.  of  Garthland  ;  Captain  Dunlop,  Mr.  Ramsay,  Mr.  Barry,  Mr. 
Merry,  Bailie  Lumsden,  Mr.  Campbell  of  Jura,  ISIr.  Campbell  of 
Sornbeg,  Colonel  Harvey  of  Castlesemple,  Mr.  Bailie  of  Polkemmet, 
Mr.  Wilson  of  Aucheneden,  Sir  Robert  Pollok  of  Upper  Pollok, 
Bart.;  Hew  Crawford,  Esq.;  Mr.  Harvey  of  Castlesemple  ;  William 
Napier,  Esq.  of  Blackston ;  W.  M.  Fleming,  Esq.  of  Barochan  ; 
Thomas  Dundas  Speirs,  Esq.;  David  Mure,  Esq.,  advocate;  Wm. 
Cunningham,  Esq.   of  Craigends  ;   Alexander  Cunningham,   Esq.; 

William  Houstoun,  Esq.,  Johnstone  Castle  ;  Campbell,  Esq. 

of  Saddell  ;  Campbell  Snodgrass,  Esq.  of  Thornhill ;  James  Orr, 
Esq.,  Crofthead  ;  R.  Stewart,  Esq.  of  Stewarthall ;  W.  Lowndes, 
Esq.  of  Arthurlie ;  Charles  Lowndes,  Esq.;  A.  Fletcher,  Esq.; 
William  Hussey,  Esq.;  with  a  great  number  of  other  distinguished 
strangers  and  resident  gentry. 

The  Paisley  Races,  or  "  Meeting,"  as  it  was  now  called,  took 
place  on  the  i6th  and  17th  of  August,  1838.  The  stewards  were 
Sir  William  Scott,  Bart;  W.  R.  Ramsay,  Esq.  of  Barnton  ;  and 
William  M.  Fleming,  Esq.  of  Barochan.  The  number  of  the  races 
and  the  value  of  the  stakes  were  similar  to  those  of  1837,  but 
neither  the  horses  nor  the  spectators  were  so  numerous.  The 
carriages,  of  which  there  were  from  fifty  to  sixty  of  various  kinds 
within  the  course,  were  ranged  along  the  eastern  side,  while 
numerous  equestrians  were  in  the  part  of  the  field  behind.  The 
arrangements  of  the  Race  Committee  were  so  good  that  neither 
confusion  nor  accident  occurred.  There  were  none  of  the  profes- 
sional gamblers  present,  in  consequence  of  the  refusal  of  the  com- 
mittee to  allow  them. 

The  grand  stand  was  completely  crowded  by  a  highly  fashionable 
company,  the  two  front  rows  being  wholly  occupied  by  the  ladies. 
Among  the  company  assembled  there  were,  in  addition  to  those  of 
last  year.  Viscount  and  Lady  Kelburne,  Colonel  Lord  Frederick 
Fitzclarence,  Alexander  Speirs,  Esq.,  ^LP.,  and  his  Lady  ;  the  Hon. 
General  Stewart,  the  Hon.  C.  F.  Stewart,  Sir  Frederick  Johnstone, 
Archibald  Hastie,  Esq.,  M.P.  for  the  Burgh ;  Mr.  and  the  Hon. 
Mrs.  Ramsay  of  Barnton,  Sheriff  Campbell,  and  Robert  Speir, 
Esq.,  yr.  of  Burnbrae. 

In  July,  1839,  the  Race  Committee  advertised  the  races  to  take 
place  on  the  fourth  Thursday  of  August  instead  of  the  third,  as 
formerly  arranged  with  the  Council.  This  matter  was  brought 
before  that  body  on  the  i6th  of  that  month  by  one  of  the  members, 
when  they  agreed  that  the  Race  Committee  should  be  written  to  for  an 
explanation.  On  the  24th  of  the  same  month  a  communication  from 
Mr.  Auld,  secretary  to  the  Race  Committee,  was  laid  before  the 
Council,  apologising  for  not  first  asking  their  permission  to  make 
this  alteration,  and  stating  "  that  nothing  could  have  been  farther 
from  their  intention  than  to  ofter  the  slightest  incivility  to  the  Town 
Council,  from  whom  they  at  all  times  received  the  utmost  courtesy.'"' 
The  Council  agreed,  "  seeing  that  the  days  of  racing  have  been 
fixed  and  extensively  advertised,  that  great  inconvenience  might 


246  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

arise  to  the  Race  Committee  if  the  time  were  now  changed,  and 
that  they  might  be  Hable  in  heavy  damages,  to  allow  the  races  to 
proceed  on  the  day  fixed  this  year,  on  condition  that  this  permission 
shall  not  be  held  as  a  precedent."  At  this  meeting  of  Council  they 
negatived  a  proposal  made  by  one  of  the  members  to  revert  to  the 
second  Thursday  of  August  as  the  day  for  having  the  races. 

The  St.  James  Day  Races,  on  23rd  and  24th  August,  1839, 
varied  little  as  regards  their  number  and  the  amount  of  the  prizes 
from  those  of  the  preceding  year.  The  stewards  were  the  Earl  of 
Eglinton,  David  Robertson,  Esq.,  and  James  Merry,  jun.,  Esq. 
Notwithstanding  that  Thursday  happened  to  be  the  Sacramental 
Fast -Day  in  both  Glasgow  and  Greenock,  the  number  of  spectators 
at  the  race -course  was  considerably  less  than  in  some  of  the  former 
years.  There  were  only  thirty-five  tents — not  much  above  one- 
half  the  number  in  the  previous  year.  The  grand  stand  was 
tastefully  fitted  up,  but  the  attendance  was  rather  below  the  average 
number.  There  were  none  of  the  "  Fouge  et  Noir"  people  on  the 
field,  but  there  were  many  other  minor  gambling  tables  on  the 
Greenock  Road.  Of  race  horses  there  were  twenty -nine  booked, 
belonging  to  seventeen  noblemen  and  gentlemen.  The  Earl  of 
Eglinton  had  five,  Mr.  Ramsay  four,  Mr.  Merry  three,  Mr.  Wauchop 
three,  Mr.  Fairly  two,  and  twelve  other  gentlemen  had  one  each. 
Two  of  the  horses  were  booked  for  five  races,  three  for  four  races, 
three  for  three  races,  si?i;  for  two  races,  and  fifteen  for  one  race. 
The  whole  number  which  ran  during  both  days  amounted  to 
seventeen,  and  of  this  number  one  ran  three  races,  seven  ran  two 
races,  and  nine  ran  one  race.  The  regulations  of  the  two  former 
years  were  adhered  to.  Carriages  and  horses  were  admitted  for 
payment  to  the  inside  of  the  race  grounds.  No  carts  or  carriages 
were  permitted  to  stand  on  the  Greenock  Road,  nor  in  the  lane 
leading  to  the  carriage  entry,  nor  within  the  race-course.  No  carts 
were  permitted  to  remain  on  any  part  of  the  race  grounds  after 
half-past  ten  o'clock  on  each  day  of  the  races,  and  no  carriages  or 
horses  were  allowed  to  stand  between  the  tents  and  the  course. 

The  question  as  to  the  time  when  the  races  should  take  place 
came  under  the  consideration  of  the  Council  on  8th  October,  1839, 
when  they,  "  being  of  opinion  that  the  change  in  the  time  of  holding 
St.  James  Day  Fair  from  the  second  to  the  third  Thursday  of  August 
and  two  following  days  has  proved  inconvenient  to  the  public, 
resolved  to  revert  to  the  second  Thursday  of  August  and  two 
following  days."  On  the  15th  of  that  month,  the  Council  changed 
their  opinion  somewhat  on  this  matter,  and  instructed  the  Property 
Committee  to  confer  with  the  Race  Committee  as  to  the  time  of 
nmning  the  Saint  James  Day  Races.  On  1 7th  December  follow- 
ing, the  Council,  after  considering  the  report  of  this  committee, 
agreed  that  permission  be  given  in  the  lease  to  be  granted  to  the 
Race  Committee  to  nm  the  races  upon  the  third  or  the  fourth 
Thursday  of  August  and  following  day,  at  the  option  of  the  com- 
mittee, under  the  condition  that  the  days  of  racing  shall  not  be 
changed  without  consent  of  the  Town  Council. 


1825    TUA.    1850.  247 

The  races  in  1840  were  on  the  22nd  and  23rd  August,  and  the 
number  of  the  races  and  of  the  prizes  were   as  formerly.     The 
stewards  were  Viscount   Kelburne,   Claud   Alexander,    Esq.,   and 
John  Tennant,  Esq.     For  the  first  race  on  Thursday,  the  Paisley 
St.  Leger  Stakes,  two  horses  started,  and  Lord  Eglinton's  Dr.  Caius 
gained.     There  was  no  race  for  the  Paisley  Champion  Stakes,  as 
the  two  horses  entered  had  become  the  property  of  one  gentleman. 
For  the  sweepstakes   of  fifteen   sovereigns  each  p.p.,   for   horses 
belonging  to  oflicers  of  the  Royal  Dragoons,  to  be  bona-fide  their 
property  on  the  day  of  naming  —  one  mile   and   a  half ;   to  be 
ridden  by  officers  on  full  pay — four  horses  ran,  and  forfeiture  was 
paid  for  three  horses.      The  race  was  won  by  Colonel  Marten's 
Salamanca.     Four  horses  started  for  the  Glasgow  Cup,  and  it  was 
won  by  Mr.  A.  Campbell's   Modesty.     For  the  Burgh  Member's 
Plate,    three   horses   started,   and  it   was   won  by   Mr.  Bowman's 
Easingwold.     Two  horses  started  for  the  Paisley  Cup,  and  it  was 
won  by  the  Hon.  J.  Sandilands's  Oswald.     On  Friday,  the  first  race 
was  for  the  "  Silver  Bells."     Three  horses  ran,  and  the  "  Bells  "  were 
won  by  Mr.  Bowman's  Easingwold.     The  next  race  was  a  sweepstake 
of  twenty  sovereigns  each,  with  twenty  sovereigns  added  from  the 
fund.      Two  horses  started,   and   it  was   won  by    Mr,    Ramsay's 
Martyrdom.     The  next  race  was  a  match  for  twenty -five  sovereigns 
each.      Won  by  Mr.  Yates's   Lear.      Two  horses  started  for  the 
County  Member's  Plate  of  fifty  guineas,  given  by  George  Houstoun, 
Esq.,  M.P.      Two  horses  ran,  and  Mr.  Ramsay's  Sunbeam  won. 
The   next   race   was   for   a   gold   cup,    by  subscription  of  fifteen 
sovereigns  each.      Lord  Eglinton's   Dr.  Caius  walked  the  course. 
The  next  race  was  a  sweepstake  of  ten  sovereigns,  with  twenty-five 
sovereigns  from  the  fund.     It  also  was  walked  over  by  the  Hon  J. 
Sandilands's  Oswald.     The  only  horses  that  started  for  the  after- 
shots  were  Mr.  Bowman's  Easingwold  and  Mr.  Redfern's  Kathleen, 
and   the   former   won.      In  consequence  of  the  greater  facilities 
afforded  by  the  opening  of  the  railways  connected  with  Paisley,  an 
increased  number  of  visitors  was  expected.     On  Friday  there  was 
an  unparalleled  number  of  spectators  on  the  race  grounds,  there 
being  about  a  third  more  than  on  the  previous  day.     The  grand 
stand  was  erected  to  accommodate  about  470  spectators,  and  was 
fitted  up  tastefully  and  substantially.     Southwards  from  it  were  nine 
other  stands,  each  capable   of  accommodating  300  persons.     All 
these  had  booths  underneath  for  refreshments.      In  addition  to 
these,  there  were  Patison's  mound,  with  accommodation  for  500  ; 
Kelburne  mound,   capable  of  holding  250  ;   and  one  person  had 
fourteen  carts  placed  in  a   line  with  planks  between.     All  these 
would  give  accommodation  for  above  four  thousand.     The  number 
of  equestrians   and   of  carriages,  gigs,  carts,    &c.,  was   immense. 
There  were  twenty- four  refreshment  tents  on  the  grounds.     The 
stands  were  all  crowded  during  the  day.      The  railways,  with  the 
trains  passing  along,  formed  a  new  feature  in  the  scenery.     In  the 
race  by  the  officers  of  Dragoons,  one  of  the  riders  and  his  horse 


248  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

fell  near  the  corner  at  the  distance,  but  neither  was  hurt.  The 
rider  almost  immediately  resumed  his  seat  and  rode  in.  Mr. 
Orton,  of  York,  acted  as  judge. 

Among  the  company  present  were  the  Earl  of  Eglinton,  Viscount 
Kelburne,  Sir  William  and  Lady  Milliken  Napier  and  Miss  Stirling 
of  Kippendavie,  Sir  W.  A.  Maxwell  of  Calderwood,  Hon.  Mr. 
Sandilands,  Hon.  General  Stewart,  Hon.  C.  F.  Stewart  of  Erskine, 
Sir  Gilbert  Stirling,  Hon.  Stewart  Erskine,  Mr.  and  Lady  Gordon  of 
Aitkenhead  and  Lady  AUcia  Erskine,  Mr.  Houstoun,  M.P.,  and 
Mrs.  Houstoun  of  Johnstone  Castle,  Colonel  Crawfuird  of  Newfield, 
Mr.  Fleming  of  Barochan,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Speir,  yr.  of  Burnbrae ; 
Mr.  Thomas  and  the  Misses  Speir  of  Burnbrae,  Colonel  Marten 
and  the  officers  of  the  Royal  Dragoons,  the  officers  of  the  12th 
Regiment,  Mr.  and  Miss  Loundes  of  Arthurlie,  Mr.  Ramsay  of 
Barton,  Mr.  Napier  of  Blackstone,  Mr.  Milliken  Napier,  yr.,  of 
Milliken  ;  Mr.  Cuninghame  of  Craigends,  Mr.  Alexander  Graham 
of  Capilly,  Mr.  Meikleham  of  Carnbrae,  Mr.  Buchanan  of  Auchen- 
torlie.  Colonel  Harvey  and  Mr.  Harvey,  yr-,  of  Castlesemple  :  Mr. 
WiUiam  Houston,  Mr.  Thomas  Dundas  Speirs,  Mr.  Campbell  of 
Sornbeg,  Mr.  John  Tennant,  Mr.  Alexander  of  Ballochmyle,  Mr. 
Campbell  of  Blythswood,  Captain  Harrington  of  Torrance,  Mr. 
Mure  of  Caldwell,  Mr.  Alexander  of  Southbar,  Mr.  Campbell  of 
Jura,  Dr.  Cairnie,  Largs,  &c.,  &c. 

An  interesting  foot-race  took  place  on  the  Paisley  Race -course 

on  27th  November,  1840.      The  match  was  that AVylde,  not 

Merrylegs,  as  commonly  called,  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Man- 
chester, who  had  been  a  runner  from  his  boyhood,  would  beat  any 
Scotchman  that  could  be  pitted  against  him  for  a  race  of  three 
miles,  the  Scotchman  to  be  allowed  one  quarter  of  a  mile  of  start. 
The  amount  of  the  bet  was  to  be  ;;^ioo,  and  the  winner  to  pocket 
the  whole.  Two  persons  were  at  first  brought  forward  as  competi- 
tors on  the  Scotch  side  —  Robert  Gilchrist,  a  shepherd,  from 
Straiton  Parish,  Ayrshire,  and  William  Lindsay,  a  country  weaver. 
On  trial,  Gilchrist  was  preferred.  Lindsay  went  thrice  round  the 
course — three  miles — in  seventeen  minutes,  but  Gilchrist  accom- 
plished it  in  sixteen  and  a  half  minutes.  After  Gilchrist  had  been 
in  some  degree  fixed  upon,  another  competitor  was  brought  forward, 
named  James  Hamilton,  farmer,  Laigh  Drumclog,  in  the  Upper 
Ward  of  Lanarkshire,  who  went  thrice  round  in  sixteen  minutes  two 
seconds,  and,  this  being  a  quicker  rate  than  Gilchrist's,  Hamilton 
was  selected.  The  speed  at  which  Wylde  went  round  was  four 
times  in  twenty-two  minutes  forty-five  seconds.  The  number  of 
bets  pending  on  this  race  was  quite  astonishing.  Several  of  them 
amounted  to  from  ^,2>°  to  ;£^o.  It  was  arranged  that  the  signal 
for  starting  should  be  the  discharge  of  a  gun  midway  between  the 
positions  of  the  parties  at  starting.  Wylde,  the  Englishman,  was  a 
light -made  man,  of  low  stature,  but  very  sinewy.  His  only  dress 
was  a  pair  of  striped  drawers,  reaching  half-way  down  his  thighs,  his 
body  and  legs  being  wholly  bare.     His  head  was  wrapped  in  a 


1825    TILL    1850.  249 

black  napkin.  Hamilton  was  a  man  of  five  feet  ten  or  eleven 
inches,  and  was  at  least  two  stones  heavier  than  Wylde.  He  had 
on  a  white  stocking  slip  dress  from  shoulders  to  ankle,  with  a  white 
nightcap  of  the  same  material,  and  he  was,  like  W3'lde,  bare  footed. 
He  had  often  run  at  weddings  and  on  other  occasions,  and  was 
never  beaten.  On  one  occasion  he  ran  round  the  course  twice, 
and  on  another  thrice,  but  he  had  no  other  training.  He  had  been 
holding  the  plough  since  he  came  to  Paisley,  and  was  employed 
two  hours  in  thrashing  on  the  day  of  the  race.  The  time  taken  by 
Hamilton,  who  was  the  winner,  was — first  round,  five  minutes  ten 
seconds  ;  second  round,  five  minutes  twenty-two  seconds ;  third 
round,  five  minutes  twenty  seconds  ; — in  all,  fifteen  minutes  fifty- 
two  seconds.  The  time  taken  from  the  start  to  the  arrival  at  the 
winning-post  was  fourteen  minutes  forty-two  seconds  ;  but  he  did 
not  stop  at  the  winning-post — he  ran  on  to  his  own  starting  point. 
That  quarter  of  a  mile  occupied  one  minute  and  ten  seconds, 
making  the  whole  time  by  running  thrice  round  the  course  fifteen 
minutes  and  fifty -two  seconds.  Wylde  took  fourteen  minutes  and 
fifty-five  seconds,  consequently  he  ran  the  three  miles  in  fifty-seven 
seconds  less  than  was  taken  by  Hamilton.  The  weather  was  very 
unfavourable.  A  close  frosty  fog  settled  down  the  night  before, 
which  never  cleared  off  all  day,  and  objects  could  scarcely  be 
distinguished  at  the  distance  of  thirty  yards.  The  number  of 
spectators  was  immense.  The  race,  on  the  whole,  did  not  possess 
such  deep  interest  as  if  both  runners  had  started  from  one  point  at 
the  same  time,  because  at  no  period  could  both  be  seen  at  once. 
The  excitement,  especially  towards  the  close  of  the  race,  was  very 
great.  Hamilton  felt  almost  no  fatigue,  and  Wylde  seemed  equally 
fresh  on  his  arrival. 

The  stewards  at  the  races  on  19th  and  20th  August  were  Lord 
Belhaven  and  Stenton,  IMr.  Campbell  of  Blythswood,  and  Mr. 
Thomas  Speir  of  Burnbrae.  There  were  the  usual  number  of 
stands  and  tents.  Shortly  after  mid -day  on  Thursday  rain  began 
to  fall,  and  continued,  with  little  intermission,  till  the  close  of  the 
races.  At  the  first  race  for  the  Trial  Stakes  four  horses  started,  and 
Mr.  Ramsay's  Nubian  won.  Two  horses  ran  for  the  Burgh 
Member's  Plate,  and  Mr.  Ramsay's  Sunbeam  won.  At  the  race  for 
the  Glasgow  Cup  two  horses  started,  and  Lord  Eglinton's  Potentate 
won.  Two  horses  started  for  the  Sweepstakes  of  twenty  sovereigns 
with  twenty  sovereigns  from  the  fund,  and  Mr.  Ramsay's  Whistle- 
Binkie  won.  For  the  Paisley  Cup  Lord  Eglinton's  Dr.  Caius 
walked  over.  On  Friday  the  weather  was  more  favourable.  For 
the  "  Silver  Bells  "  only  two  horses  started,  and  they  were  won  by 
Lord  Eglinton's  Potentate.  The  next  race  was  a  match  for  120 
sovereigns.  It  was  contested  by  Mr.  Hope  Johnstone's  Returned 
and  Mr.  Redfern's  Slashing  Harry.  The  owners  rode,  and  the 
former  won.  Three  horses  started  for  a  Sweepstake  of  fifty 
sovereigns  and  fifty  sovereigns  from  the  fund,  and  Mr.  C. 
Alexander's  Jerry  won.     Two  horses  started  for  the  Plate  of  fifty 

R 


250  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

sovereigns,  given  by  Mr.  Houston,  M.P.  Mr.  Ramsay's  Nubian 
won.  The  Blythsvvood  Stakes  was  walked  over  by  Mr.  Ramsay's 
Sunbeam.  For  the  "  Aftershots "  three  horses  started,  and  Lord 
Eglinton's  Zoroaster  won  the  race.  At  the  north-west  corner 
coming  home,  Mr.  Cook's  SuUeman  got  off  the  course  and  came 
down,  when  Noble  the  rider  had  his  collar-bone  broken.  The 
Earl  and  Countess  of  Eglinton  were  among  the  distinguished  visitors 
at  the  course. 

The  St.  James  Day  races  in  1843  came  off  on  the  24th  and  25th 
August.  The  stewards  were  the  Earl  of  Eglinton,  Andrew  John- 
stone, Esq.  of  Halleathes,  and  James  Merry,  Esq.  The  judge  was 
Mr.  William  Nightingale.  The  number  of  the  races  and  the  amount 
of  the  prizes  corresponded  very  much  with  those  of  former  years. 

Thursday. 
Paisley  St.  Leger  Stakes. — Two  horses  ran.     Winner,  Lord  Eglinton's  Egidia. 
Burgh  Member's  Plate. — Two  horses  i-an.     Winner,  Mr.  Ramsay's  Shadow. 
Glasgow  Cup. — Three  horses  ran.     Winner,  Lord  Eglinton's  Jamie  Forrest. 
Paisley  Cup. — Two  horses  ran.     Winner,  Mr.  Ramsay's  Shadow. 
Match,  100  sovs. — Mr.  Willington's  Veteran  and  Captain  Boyd's  Clown.     The 
former  won.     Gentlemen  riders. 

Friday. 
Sweepstakes  of  20  sovs. — Two  horses  ran.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Prudence. 
The  "  Silver  Bells." — Two  horses  ran.     Winner,  Mr.  Ramsay's  Shadow. 
The  Hunters'  Stakes. — Two  horses  ran.     Winner,  Mr.  Ramsay's  Zoroaster. 
Railway  Stakes  of  10  sovs. — Four  horses  ran.     Winner,   Mr.  Hope  Johnstone's 

William  Le  Gros. 
"Aftershots." — Three  horses  ran.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Cable. 

There  were  above  thirty  tents,  eight  of  which  were  surmounted 
with  hustings  for  viewing  the  races.  The  grand  stand  was  as  usual 
well  filled  with  ladies  and  gentlemen.  The  weather  on  both  of  the 
days,  but  particularly  on  Friday,  was  somewhat  unfavourable,  and 
the  attendance  was  therefore  scarcely  so  numerous  as  in  some  of  the 
former  years. 

The  races  in  1844  took  place  on  22nd  and  23rd  August.     The 
stewards  were  the  Earl  of  Glasgow  and  Sir  James  Boswell.    Judge — 
William  Nightingale,  Esq.,  Skipton,  Yorkshire.     On  Thursday  the 
first  race  was — 
The  Paisley  St.   Leger  Stakes. — Three  horses  ran.      Winner,    Mr.    Dawson's 

Geneva. 
Burgh  Member's  Plate. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Cook's  Zoroaster. 
Glasgow  Cup. — -Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr  Dawson's  The  Biddy. 
The  Paisley  Cup. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Ramsay's  Lady  Skepsey. 

On  Friday  the  first  race  was — 

Sweepstakes  of  20  sovs.  — Two  horses  ran.     Winner,  Lord  Eglinton's  Pythia. 
The  "Silver  Bells." — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Cable. 
Hunters'  Stakes. — Gentlemen  riders. — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Cook's 
Zoroaster. 


1825    TILL    1850.  251 

Railway  Stakes.  — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Christopher. 
Aftershots. — Five  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Dawson's  Geneva. 

The  races  at  St.  James  Day  Fair  in  1845  took  place  on  21st  and 
22nd  August.  The  stewards  were  the  Earl  of  Eglinton  and  Winton; 
James  Lumsden,  Lord  Provost  of  Glasgow ;  and  Colonel  Mure  of 
Caldwell.     The  races  on  Thursday  commenced  with  the 

Trial   Stakes  of  5  sovs.  and  25  added. — Four  horses  started.     Winner,  Lord 

Eglinton's  Bretwalda. 
Burgh  Member's  Plate. — Two  horses  started.    Winner,  Mr.  Johnstone's  Millden. 
Glasgow  Cup. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Sir  C.  Monk's  Glossy. 
Paisley  Cup. — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  John  Harris. 

Frid.vy. 
The   races   should   have    commenced   with    a    Sweepstake ;    but 
although  three  horses  were  entered,  none  were  brought  forward. 
"Silver  Bells." — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Lord  Eglinton's  Bretwalda. 
Hunters'   Stakes. — Four  horses  started.     Having  first  qualified  by  jumping  a 

wall  3^ -feet  high.     Winner,  Mr.  Campbell's  Waverley. 
Railway  Stakes. — Four  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Morris's  Mesmeria. 
The  Aftershots. — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  John  Harris. 
The  meeting  on  the  whole  went  off  with  great  eclat,  although  the 
absence  of  many  distinguished  personages  who  were  wont  to  grace 
the  course  was  very  generally  regretted. 

The  races  at  St.  James  Day  Fair  in  1846  took  place  on  20th  and 
2 1  St  August.  The  stewards  were  the  Earl  of  Eglinton  and  Sir 
James  Boswell,  Bart. 

Thursday. 
Trial  Stakes  of  5  sovs.  and  25  sovs.  added. — Four  horses  started.      Winner, 

Hon.  J.  Kennedy's  Doctor. 
Burgh  Member's  Plate. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Pilot. 
Glasgow  Cup. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  John  Harris. 
Selling  Stakes,  a  sweepstake  of  5  sovs.,  with  25  sovs.  added. — Three  horses 

started.     Winner,  Mr.  Ellis's  Claudia. 
Paisley  Cup.— Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Badinage. 

Friday. 
Anybody's   Stakes   of  5   sovs.,    with   50   sovs.    added.  —  Four  horses  started. 

Winner,  Mr.  W.  H.  Johnstone's  Marion  Ramsay. 
"Silver  Bells." — Four  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Pilot. 
Hunters'  Stakes.  —  Two  horses  started,  and  first  qualified  by  jumping  a  wall 

3^ -feet  high.  Winner,  Mr.  John  Henderson's  Speculator.   Gentlemen  riders. 
Railway  Stakes. — Three  horses  staiied.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Badinage. 
Aftershots.  —  Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Hill's  Bathan. 

On  Friday  the  weather  was  good,  and  the  number  of  spectators  who 
visited  the  course  was  estimated  at  70,000. 

The  races  in  1847  were  on  19th  and  20th  August.     The  first 
race  was  the 
Trial  Stakes,  —  Four  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  John  Harris. 


252  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Burgh  Member's  Plate.  —  Four  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.    Merry's  Marion 

Ramsay. 
Glasgow  Cup.  —  Two  horses  started,     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Chanticleer. 
The  Selling  Stakes. — Four  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  H.  Murland's  Tanais. 
The  Paisley  Cup. — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Pilot. 

The  first  race  on  Friday  was — 

Anybody's  Stakes. — Mr.  Merry's  Pilot  walked  over. 

"  Silver  Bells." — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Chanticleer. 

Hunters'  Stakes. — Mr.  Speirs's  Alligator  walked  over. 

Railway  Stakes. — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  John  Harris. 

Aftershots. — Five  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Nicol's  Moscow. 

The  estimated  number  of  people  on  the  course  on  Thursday  was 
30,000,  and  on  Friday,  40,000. 

The  races  at  St.  James  Day  Fair  took  place  in  1848  on  17th  and 
1 8th  August.  The  stewards  were  Colonel  Mure  and  Sir  James 
Boswell.     The  first  race  on  Thursday  was — 

The  Trial  Stakes. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Aspasia. 
Burgh  Member's  Plate. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Pilot. 
Glasgow  Cup. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Collier. 
Selling  Stakes. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  M'Kenzie's  John  Harris. 
Paisley  Cup. — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Pilot. 

The  first  on  Friday  was — 

A  Sweepstake. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Captain  J.   Campbell's  Heads- 
man. 
"Silver  Bells." — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Pilot. 
Hunters'  Stakes. — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Merry's  Collier. 
Railway  Stakes.- — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  M'Kenzie's  John  Harris. 
Aftershots. — Four  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.   Merry's  Aspasia. 

There  was  a  want  of  ladies  on  the  grand -stand,  and  the  attendance 
of  gentlemen,  usually  so  considerable,  was  greatly  diminished.  The 
crowd  who  visited  the  course  on  Friday  was  immense,  numbering, 
as  is  supposed,  not  less  than  50,000,  and  about  three  times  Thurs- 
day's number. 

In  1849  the  races  came  off  on  30th  and  31st  August.  The 
stewards  were  Sir  M.  R.  Shaw  Stewart,  Archibald  Hastie,  Esq., 
J.  R.  Lee  Harvey  of  Castlesemple,  George  Baird,  Esq.  of  Gart- 
sherrie.     The  first  race  on  Thursday,  30th,  was — 

The  Trial  Stakes. — Six  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Dinning's  Railway  King. 
Burgh  Member's  Plate. — Four  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Drake's  Reversion. 
Glasgow  Cup. — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Shepherd's  Alp. 
Selling  Stakes. — Six  horses  started.     W^inner,  Capt.  O.  V.  Harcourt's  Inheritor. 
Glasgow  Yeomanry   Stakes. — Two   horses   started.       ^Vinner,    Mr.    Lawson's 

California. 
The  Paisley  Cup. — Three  horses  started.     Whinner,  Mr.   Shepherd's  Alp. 


1825    TILL    1850.  253 

On  Friday  the  first  race  was — 

A  Sweepstake  of  5  sovs.,  with  20  sovs.  added. — Three  horses  started.     Winner, 

Mr.  Dinning's  Railway  King. 
"Silver  Bells." — Three  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Russell's  Tortoise. 
Hunters'  Stakes. — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Sharkey's  Eighen. 
Railway  Stakes. — Two  horses  started.      Winner,  Mr.  Drake's  Reversion, 
Aftershots. — Two  horses  started.     Winner,  Mr.  Drake's  Reversion. 

Mr.  David  Campbell  acted  as  clerk,  and  Mr.  John  Auld  as  judge. 
The  number  of  spectators  on  the  course  was  fully  more  than  that 
of  last  year. 

The  races  did  not  pass  off  so  quietly  this  year  as  hitherto.  The 
sports  of  Thursday  were  followed  by  a  most  disgraceful  riot,  which 
took  place  on  the  course  towards  midnight,  after  the  whole  of  the 
police  had  left.  It  commenced  with  a  number  of  blackguards 
throwing  about  an  old  tree -stump,  which  they  had  procured  in  the 
neighbourhood  for  the  purpose  of  gathering  the  crowd.  Speedily 
the  rioters  commenced  an  indiscriminate  assault  upon  the  stalls,  and 
stole  hams,  biscuits,  tarts,  clothing,  and  everything  which  came  in 
their  way.  The  owners  of  the  tents  after  a  time,  but  not  until  they 
had  been  divested  of  a  considerable  amount  of  property,  united  in 
self-defence,  and  succeeded  in  capturing  about  a  dozen  of  the  ring- 
leaders and  in  having  them  conveyed  to  the  Police  Office.  The 
whole  of  those  apprehended  belonged  to  Glasgow. 

In  the  beginning  of  1829  the  Council  resolved  to  remove  the 
slaughter-house  from  behind  the  flesh-market  in  Moss  Street,  where 
it  had  been  for  many  years.  This  became  necessary  to  admit  of 
the  formation  of  the  new  street  from  the  County  Buildings  to  Dyers' 
Wynd,  and  ultimately  to  the  Cross  ;  and  also  to  remedy  the  insuffi- 
cient accommodation.  The  first  proposal  was  to  erect  the  new 
shambles  on  the  side  of  the  river  in  Sneddon  ;  but  this  idea,  owing 
to  the  opposition  it  raised,  was  abandoned,  and  they  were  built  on 
the  site  where  they  now  stand.  The  butchers  objected  very  much 
at  first  to  going  so  far  out  of  the  town. 

In  1836  the  Council  erected  a  new  flesh -market  on  the  west  side 
of  Gilmour  Street.  Very  few  of  the  butchers  went  to  it,  and  for 
several  years  only  one  stall  was  used  in  it,  viz.,  by  Miss  Burns. 
After  she  left  the  market,  it  was  let  for  several  years  to  tradesmen  ; 
and  latterly  the  Council  feued  the  ground,  on  the  southern  part  of 
which  now  stands  the  handsome  shop  of  Messrs.  Alexander  King  & 
Son.  When  the  market  was  removed  from  Moss  Street  to  Gilmour 
Street,  the  Council  disposed  of  the  ground  on  which  the  old  market 
stood.  A  superior  building  was  erected  on  the  site,  and  the  floor 
above  the  range  of  shops  is  used  as  a  hall,  and  known  by  the  name 
of  the  Exchange  Rooms. 

The  appalling  public  spectacle  of  the  execution  of  criminals  had 
not  hitherto  been  frequent,  the  last  being  the  case  of  Potts  in  1797. 


254  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

In  1829  the  inhabitants,  however,  witnessed  the  execution  of  two 
men  for  committing  the  serious  offences  of  housebreaking  and  theft 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  town. 

On  Sunday  morning,  the  14th  June  in  that  year,  John  Craig, 
glazier ;  James  Brown,  labourer  ;  and  Robert  Stewart,  weaver,  all 
Irishmen,  violently  entered  the  house  of  Mr.  William  Robertson, 
bleacher,  West  Foxbar.  He  and  his  sister  were  the  only  inmates. 
Mr.  Robertson  was  alarmed  by  an  uncommon  noise  in  the  house, 
upon  which  he  arose  and  endeavoured  to  get  out  of  his  room,  but 
was  prevented  by  one  of  the  robbers  holding  the  door  fast.  Mr. 
Robertson  then  had  recourse  to  a  poker,  with  which  he  broke  the 
pannel  of  the  door,  and  by  this  means  he  was  enabled  to  get  to  the 
room  from  which  the  noise  proceeded.  He  there  found  that  they 
had  abused  Miss  Robertson,  who  was  then  lying  on  the  floor. 
Mr.  Robertson  was  also  repeatedly  struck  by  one  of  the  number 
with  a  bludgeon.  Thus  situated,  and  finding  further  resistance 
unavailing,  Mr.  Robertson  submitted  to  a  minute  and  strict  exami- 
nation of  the  house  for  money,  and  the  robbers  left  after  spending 
an  hour  in  it.  Previous  to  leaving  it,  they  bound  both  ^Ir.  and 
Miss  Robertson,  and  used  horrid  imprecations  in  threatening  what 
would  follow  should  they  give  the  alarm.  They  carried  with  them 
from  the  house  a  single -barrelled  gun,  a  quantity  of  silver  tea  and 
table-spoons,  a  bank  cheque  for  ^90,  and  about  twelve  shillings  in 
silver.  Mr.  Robertson  having  got  loose,  unbound  his  sister  and 
gave  the  alarm.  Craig  and  Brown  were  apprehended  in  Belfast, 
and  on  22nd  September  following  were  charged  before  Lord  Mon- 
crieff  and  a  jury  at  Glasgow  Assizes  with  this  housebreaking  and 
robbery.  Stewart  was  outlawed  for  not  appearing.  Craig  pled 
guilty,  and  the  Judge  warned  him  that  he  was  pleading  guilty  to  a 
crime  which  was  punishable  with  death.  He,  however,  pled  guilty 
a  second  and  third  time.  The  jury  found  Brown  to  be  guilty,  and 
the  two  men  were  sentenced  to  be  executed  on  the  29th  October, 
in  County  Square,  Paisley.  Prior  to  the  day  of  execution  they 
showed  great  attention  to  the  religious  instructions  given  to  them 
by  Professor  Symington,  Rev.  Mr.  Geddes,  Messrs.  Warrand  Carlile, 
Robert  Symington,  and  John  Hart.  The  prisoners,  particularly 
Craig,  ascribed  all  their  misfortunes  to  violating  the  Sabbath  and 
wandering  about  the  fields  on  that  day.  The  stick  with  which  Craig 
struck   Mr.  Robertson  was  cut  in  a  wood  on  the  Sabbath  day.^ 

^  The  reader  is  referred  for  further  information  to  "The  Journal  of  Conver- 
sations with  John  Craig  and  James  Brown  previous  to  their  execution  at  Paisley, 
29th  October,  1829,  by  the  Rev.  John  Geddes,  minister  of  the  High  Church, 
Paisley;  with  an  address  to  the  prisoners  by  the  Rev.  Professor  Symington,  Paisley." 
Also  "A  Sermon  to  the  Young,  preached  at  the  request  of  John  Craig  and 
James  Brown  while  under  the  sentence  of  death  in  Paisley  Jail,  and  delivered  in 
the  High  Church,  Paisley,  on  Sabbath  evening,  15th  November,  1829,  by  the 
Rev.  John  Geddes."  Also  to  "A  Voice  from  the  Scaffold,  or  a  Solemn 
Address,  on  the  execution  of  John  Craig  and  James  Brown,  by  the  Rev.  Dr. 
Burns,  of  St.  George's,  Paisley."  These  were  all  published  by  Mr.  Alexander 
Gardner,  bookseller,  Paisley. 


1825    TILL    1850.  255 

They  were  both  married  and  had  large  famiHes.  The  interviews 
with  them  all  before  the  day  of  execution  formed  heartrending 
scenes.  At  the  execution,  County  Square  was  filled  with  a  great 
crowd  of  people. 

Seven  years  afterwards  there  was  another  execution,  arising  from 
the  perpetration  of  a  barbarous  murder,  an  event  of  very  rare 
occurrence  in  Paisley.  ^Villiam  Perry,  a  native  of  Glasgow,  who 
had  been  working  in  Paisley  for  seventeen  years  as  a  tobacco - 
spinner,  went  home  to  his  house  in  Barclay  Street  on  the  31st  May, 
1837.  After  entering  the  house,  he  sent  out  two  of  his  children  by 
his  first  wife,  and  afterwards  barred  the  door.  Immediately  there- 
after a  scuffling  was  heard,  intermingled  with  cries  of  murder.  A 
woman  who  lived  in  an  adjoining  house  attempted  to  open  the 
door,  but  found  it  barred ;  she  applied  all  her  strength  to  the  door, 
and  Mrs.  Perry,  who  appeared  at  the  same  moment  to  have  got  the 
bar  removed,  fled  staggering  into  her  neighbour's,  where  she  cried 
out  —  "I  am  gone;  send  for  assistance."  In  a  few  minutes,  and 
before  any  medical  aid  could  be  procured,  she  breathed  her  last. 
The  deed  was  committed  with  a  common  three-sided  saw  file 
ground  to  a  bayonet,  and  stuck  into  a  short  handle.  At  the 
moment  after  the  deed,  and  no  doubt  during  its  commission.  Perry 
was  in  quite  a  distracted  state,  and  his  eyes  were  glaring  with  such 
desperation  that  his  neighbours  feared  he  would  attempt  suicide, 
but  they  took  some  precautions  to  prevent  this  until  the  arrival  of  the 
officers  of  police,  who  took  him  into  custody.  AVhen  the  body  was 
examined,  eight  wounds  were  found  upon  it, —  two  in  the  arm,  three 
near  the  shoulder,  one  behind  the  ear,  one  in  the  back,  and  one  in 
the  breast,  by  which  the  fatal  instrument  reached  and  penetrated 
the  heart.  The  wound  in  the  back  was  supposed  to  have  been  the 
last  of  all,  dealt  as  the  woman  was  flying  out  of  the  door.  And  in 
this  wound  the  instrument  appears  to  have  stuck,  as  it  dropped 
from  the  body  on  the  floor  of  the  neighbour's  house.  Perry,  on  the 
same  evening,  underwent  an  examination  before  the  Sheriff  and  the 
Procurator- Fiscal  of  the  County;  and  after  being  particularly 
cautioned,  according  to  the  practice  observed  in  such  cases,  against 
self-crimination,  he  freely  emitted  a  declaration  confessing  his  guilt. 
Perry's  first  wife  died  in  the  spring  of  the  previous  year,  and  he 
married  Mary  Mitchell,  his  second  wife,  although  he  knew  of  her 
having  been  the  mother  of  several  illegitimate  children.  He  was  a 
man  of  strong  passions,  and  deep  jealousy  found  ample  fuel  on 
which  to  feed  in  the  past  history  of  his  wife.  It  was  in  one  of  these 
moods  he  murdered  her.  Perry  was  tried  for  the  crime  of  murder 
on  27th  September  following,  at  the  Glasgow  Circuit  Court,  before 
Lord  Cockburn  and  a  jury.  A  most  ingenious  defence  by  his 
counsel,  Mr.  Maxwell,  of  temporary  insanity,  was  attempted,  but 
the  jury  unanimously  found  him  guilty,  and  four  of  them  recom- 
mended him  to  mercy.  During  the  time  between  condemnation 
and  execution  he  was   most  penitent,  and  conducted  himself  with 


256  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

the  greatest  propriety.  The  Rev.  John  Macnaughtan^  attended 
him  most  assiduously  till  his  last  moments.  At  eight  o'clock  on  the 
morning  of  the  i8th  October,  1837,  he  was  executed  in  front  of  the 
County  Buildings,  in  the  presence  of  a  great  assemblage.  The 
whole  space  from  the  County  Buildings  to  Moss  Street,  and  from 
Dyers'  Wynd  to  Sneddon  Street,  presented  an  almost  uninterrupted 
mass  of  human  heads.  Before  the  body  was  interred  within  the 
precincts  of  the  jail,  a  phrenologist,  with  some  assistance,  took  a 
cast  of  the  head. 

The  year  1830  was  memorable  for  the  commencement,  not  only 
in  Paisley  but  throughout  the  whole  nation,  of  important  political 
agitations,  which  terminated  in  completely  altering  the  system  of 
electing  Members  of  Parliament.  King  George  IV.  died  on  26th 
June,  1830,  and  immediately  thereafter  William  IV.  was  proclaimed 
King.  This  led  to  a  new  election  of  Parliament.  In  the  mean- 
time events  of  great  importance  happened  in  France.  The  King 
abolished  the  liberty  of  the  press,  dissolved  the  Chambers,  and 
adopted  a  new  mode  of  electing  the  Deputies  for  the  Lower  House. 
Then  followed  the  Revolution  on  the  24th,  25th,  and  26th  July,  or, 
as  they  were  termed,  "  the  three  glorious  days  of  Paris,"  which 
ended  in  the  abdication  of  Charles  X.  These  proceedings  had  a 
most  extraordinary  influence  on  the  politics  of  this  country.  Many 
meetings  were  held  in  the  various  towns  in  England,  and  an 
enthusiastic  one  in  Edinburgh  congratulated  the  French  people  on 
the  successful  progress  of  their  Revolution,  and  resolved  to  subscribe 
funds  for  the  relations  of  those  who  had  fallen  in  the  several  encounters 
with  the  military.  On  the  19th  August  a  preliminary  meeting  of 
persons  with  similar  objects  in  view  was  held  in  the  hall  of  the 
Paisley  Philosophical  Institution.  They  appointed  a  committee  to 
draw  up  a  requisition  and  present  it  to  the  Provost  and  Magistrates 
to  call  a  meeting  of  the  inhabitants  to  consider  the  best  means  of 
giving  expression  to  public  opinion  regarding  the  occurrences  in 
France.  As  the  Magistrates  did  not  see  it  to  be  their  duty  to 
accede  to  the  request,  the  requisitionists  called  a  meeting  them- 
selves, to  be  held  on  the  2nd  September,  in  the  church,  St.  James 
Street.  This  meeting  was  numerously  attended,  was  influential  in 
character,  and  the  proceedings  were  most  enthusiastic.  Sir  John 
Maxwell  of  Pollok  was  called  to  the  chair,  and  the  speakers  who 
moved  and  supported  resolutions  were  Mr.  Wallace  of  Kelly,  Mr. 
Speirs  of  Elderslie,  Messrs.  Hugh  Macfarlane,  William  Barr,  William 
Bell,  John  Crawford,  James  Fleming,  John  Gilchrist,  and  George 
Mason.  The  following  is  a  copy  of  the  resolutions  carried,  which 
will  best  exhibit  the  temper  of  the  meeting  : — 

I.  "  That   the   inhabitants  of  Paisley,  participating   in   the  joy 

^  He  afterwards  published  "A  Sketch  of  the  Life  of  William  Perry,  and 
Recollections  of  Conversations  with  him  during  his  Confinement  and  when  under 
the  Sentence  of  Death,"  as  given  in  two  discourses  jjreached  in  the  High  Church 
on  22nd  October,  being  the  Sabbath  after  his  execution. 


1S25    TILL    1850.  257 

which  pervades  all  ranks  of  His  Majesty's  loyal  subjects  in  this 
country,  beg  leave  to  congratulate  the  people  of  France  on  their 
late  glorious  struggle,  and  more  especially  to  convey  to  the  citizens 
of  Paris  the  expression  of  their  applause  for  securing,  by  their  noble 
resistance  to  arbitrary  power,  the  inestimable  blessings  of  liberty 
and  well-regulated  government." 

2.  "  That  the  moderation  which  has  so  eminently  characterised 
the  conduct  of  the  French  people  in  obtaining  so  signal  a  victory 
over  their  infatuated  ruler  exhibits  to  the  world  a  striking  instance 
of  the  triumph  of  virtue  and  patriotism  over  bigotry  and  intolerance, 
and  justly  entitles  them  to  the  esteem  and  admiration  of  every 
friend  of  liberal  institutions." 

3.  "That  the  magnanimous  conduct  on  the  part  of  the  people  of 
France  affords  to  rulers  at  once  a  splendid  example  of  the  folly  and 
danger  of  attempting  by  despotic  measures  to  prevent  the  diffusion 
of  knowledge  and  to  enslave  mankind ;  and  at  the  same  time 
demonstrates  that  it  is  the  true  wisdom  of  statesmen,  in  accordance 
with  the  spirit  of  an  enlightened  age,  considerately  to  adopt  such 
improvements  as  time  and  experience  demand." 

4.  "  That  the  more  effectually  to  evince  our  feeling  and  esteem 
for  the  citizens  of  Paris,  a  public  subscription  shall  be  entered  into 
and  the  proceeds  presented  to  the  wounded  and  to  the  relatives  of 
those  who  have  fallen  in  the  late  glorious  and  eventful  struggle — a 
stmggle  by  which  the  liberties  of  the  people  of  Europe  have  been 
so  greatly  advanced." 

5.  "  That  these  resolutions  be  transmitted  to  the  venerable  and 
patriotic  General  La  Fayette  and  to  the  Prefect  of  Paris,  with  a 
respectful  request  that  the  same  be  communicated  to  the  inhabitants 
of  Paris,  and  to  the  people  of  France  generally,  in  whatever  manner 
they  consider  best." 

The  feeling  in  favour  of  a  better  representation  of  the  people  in 
Parliament  had  now  become  very  strong  among  all  classes.  The 
visit  of  Mr.  Hume  to  Paisley  on  17th  September,  when  an  address 
was  presented  to  him,  and  the  manner  in  which  his  observations 
were  received,  manifested  a  great  desire  for  Parliamentary  reform. 
At  that  time  arrangements  were  made  to  hold  a  public  meeting  to 
petition  the  King  and  the  House  of  Commons  for  a  radical  reform 
of  Parliament.  This  meeting  took  place  on  the  i6th  November  in 
the  Thread  Street  Church;  and  by  the  hour  of  assembling  the  church, 
which  was  able  to  contain  nearly  2000,  was  densely  filled,  and  many 
hundreds  were  unable  to  obtain  admittance.  Sir  John  Maxwell  of 
PoUok  occupied  the  chair ;  and  resolutions  in  favour  of  Parlia- 
mentary reform,  supported  by  Mr.  Wallace  of  Kelly,  Mr.  Speirs  of 
Elderslie,  Messrs.  George  Gardner,  William  Waterston,  George 
Mason,  William  Barr,  J.  Osburn,  James  Fleming,  and  John  Hender- 
son, were  carried  amidst  great  enthusiasm. 

Parliament  was  formally  opened  on  ist  November,  and  on  the 
1 6th  a  motion  relating  to  the  civil  list  was  brought  up,  the  decision 


258  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

upon  which  left  the  Government  in  a  minority  of  twenty-nine.  The 
Premier  (the  Duke  of  Wellington)  along  with  his  colleagues  im- 
mediately resigned.  Earl  Grey  being  called  upon  by  the  King, 
formed  a  new  Ministry.  In  the  first  speech  of  Earl  Grey  in  the 
House  of  Lords  after  assuming  the  premiership,  he  stated  his  willing- 
ness to  support  a  measure  for  the  better  representation  of  the  people 
in  the  House  of  Commons.  The  attention  of  the  public  after  this 
announcement  became  entirely  engrossed  in  the  subject  of  Parlia- 
mentary reform.  In  every  town  of  any  importance  in  the  country 
enthusiastic  meetings  were  held  to  give  support  to  the  new  Ministry, 
and  the  Houses  of  Parliament  were  called  upon  to  give  such  an 
extension  of  the  franchise  as  would  include  a  fair  representation  of 
the  property  and  intelligence  of  the  country.  On  3rd  December  a 
public  meeting  of  the  noblemen  and  gentlemen,  freeholders,  Com- 
missioners of  Supply,  heritors,  magistrates  of  towns.  Justices  of 
the  Peace,  merchants,  and  manufacturers  of  the  county  of  Ren- 
frew, was  held  in  the  County  Hall,  to  congratulate  His  Majesty 
King  William  IV.  on  the  occasion  of  his  having  displaced  an 
administration  which  had  proved  hostile  to  the  liberty  and 
prosperity  of  the  country,  and  to  implore  His  Majesty  forth- 
with to  dissolve  the  present  Parliament,  and  thereby  enable  the 
people  to  return  representatives  in  consonance  with  their  own 
opinion  ;  and  also  to  take  into  consideration  the  propriety  of  stating 
to  the  King  and  his  Ministry  the  necessity  of  an  immediate  reform 
of  the  Commons  House  of  Parliament.  The  meeting  was  well 
attended,  and  Sir  John  Maxwell  was  called  to  the  chair.  The  pro- 
posers and  supporters  of  the  resolutions  that  were  carried  in  accord- 
ance with  the  terms  upon  which  the  meeting  was  held  were  —  Mr. 
Wallace  of  Kelly,  Mr.  C.  Pontine  of  Ardoch,  Mr.  Speirs  of  Elderslie, 
Mr.  Maxwell,  yr.  of  Pollok,  Messrs.  Simpson,  Ritchie,  and  Gardner. 
At  this  time  the  Town  Council,  like  almost  every  similar  body  in 
Scotland,  had  also  under  their  consideration  the  subject  of  Parlia- 
mentary and  Burgh  reform,  and  unanimously  agreed  to  petition 
both  Houses  of  Parliament  in  favour  of  the  same.  This  moderate 
and  sensible  petition,  dated  i6th  December,  1830,  was  as  follows  : — 
"  That  your  petitioners  view  with  great  satisfaction  the  resolution 
of  His  Majesty's  Ministers  to  adopt  a  system  of  retrenchment  and 
economy  in  every  branch  of  the  public  expenditure  ;  that  your 
petitioners  also  rejoice  in  the  assurance  given  by  His  Majesty's 
Ministers  that  the  state  of  representation  in  Parliament  is  about  to 
be  taken  into  consideration  by  the  Government ;  that  in  counties  in 
this  part  of  the  United  Kingdom  the  elective  franchise  is  vested  to 
a  great  extent  in  those  who  have  no  interest  in  the  soil,  and  the 
members  for  Royal  Burghs  are  elected  by  the  Magistrates  and 
Council,  who  generally  elect  their  successors,  and  form  but  a  very 
small  part  of  the  community.  It  is  therefore  expedient  that  the  elective 
franchise  be  amended.  That  many  populous  towns  have  no  voice 
in  the  election  of  members  to  serve  in  Parliament  —  Paisley,  with 
its  suburbs,  comprehending  a  manufacturing  population  of  nearly 


1825    TILL    1S50.  259 

50,000  persons,  being  in  that  situation  ;  that  the  petitioners  humbly 
submit  that  the  claim  of  such  a  population  to  send  a  member  to 
represent  them  in  Parliament  cannot  be  overlooked  in  remodelling 
the  representative  system  of  the  kingdom ;  that  the  constitutions  of 
most  of  the  Royal  Burghs  and  Burghs  of  Barony  are  defective ; 
that  your  petitioners  have  not  only  no  desire  to  possess  political 
rights  to  the  exclusion  of  respectable  fellow- citizens  in  the  munici- 
pal affairs  of  the  town,  but  are  disposed  to  regard  with  entire  satis- 
faction any  Parliamentary  reform  which,  by  extending  the  elective 
franchise,  shall  diffuse  more  equal  political  rights  amongst  His 
Majesty's  subjects,  and  which  at  the  same  time  shall  be  calculated 
to  preserve  inviolate  the  just  balance  and  stability  of  our  invaluable 
Constitution." 

During  the  great  European  war  there  were  reading-rooms  in 
every  quarter  of  the  town,  but  in  the  period  of  peace  that  followed 
they  were  all  given  up  with  the  exception  of  the  one  in  Sneddon 
district.  The  stirring  and  interesting  events  of  Reform,  however, 
again  diffused  a  spirit  of  inquiry  and  a  demand  for  news  among  the 
inhabitants,  and  several  new  reading-rooms  were  opened.  In  the 
one  in  Broomlands  there  were  140  members. 

On  the  4th  January,  1831,  the  first  preliminary  meeting  of  a 
committee  of  the  Renfrewshire  Political  Union  was  held  in  the 
Saracen's  Head  Inn  —  Mr.  Wallace  of  Kelly  in  the  chair.  A  sub- 
committee was  appointed  to  prepare  the  rules  and  regulations  of  the 
Union,  with  the  duties  of  the  members  and  the  council  of  the 
Union.  These  were  similar  to  those  adopted  by  the  Birming- 
ham Union,  At  a  meeting  held  on  the  14th  February  following,  in 
the  church,  St.  James  Street  —  Sir  John  Maxwell  in  the  chair  —  the 
rules  prepared  by  the  committee  were  confirmed,  and  the  members' 
quarterly  contributions  fixed  at  sixpence.  The  meeting  agreed  to 
petition  Parliament  in  favour  of  a  reduction  of  taxation,  a  shorter 
duration  of  Parliaments,  extension  of  the  elective  franchise  to  male 
householders,  and  of  giving  burgesses  in  burghs  the  power  to  elect 
their  councillors. 

The  Government  measure  for  a  reform  of  the  representation  of 
the  people  in  the  House  of  Commons,  which  had  been  looked 
forward  to  with  great  anxiety,  was  brought  before  Parliament  on  ist 
March,  1831.  The  bill  was  generally  approved  of  by  the  country. 
On  the  7th  of  that  month  the  Political  Union  held  a  meeting  to 
discuss  the  different  parts  of  the  bill,  and  although  it  fell  short  of 
the  principles  of  the  Union,  they  approved  of  it.  Petitions  were  at 
once  forwarded  to  the  King,  Lords,  and  Commons,  cordially 
thanking  His  Majesty  and  His  Ministers  for  the  reform  proposed, 
and  praying  the  legislature  to  pass  it,  undiminished  in  its  scope, 
immediately  into  law.  On  the  15th  of  that  month  the  Town 
Council  also  agreed  that  petitions  should  be  presented  to  the 
Houses  of  Parliament  approving  of  the  Reform  Bill  submitted  to 
the  House  of  Commons  by  His  Majesty's  Ministers.     On  the  same 


26o  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

day  a  public  meeting  of  bankers,  merchants,  manufacturers, 
professional  gentlemen,  and  other  inhabitants  of  Paisley,  called  by 
Provost  Gilmour,  passed  resolutions  approving  of  the  Reform  Bill, 
and  expressing  grateful  thanks  for  the  benefits  proposed  to  be  con- 
ferred on  Paisley  by  allowing  the  town  the  privilege  of  sending  a 
member  to  Parliament  to  represent  its  extensive  and  varied  interests. 
The  meeting  also  agreed  that  an  address  to  the  King,  and  petition 
to  both  Houses  of  Parliament,  should  be  subscribed  by  the  inhabit- 
ants. These  petitions,  in  the  course  of  less  than  two  days,  were 
signed  by  7500  of  the  inhabitants.  On  the  i6th  of  that  month  the 
Commissioners  of  Police  likewise  agreed  that  a  dutiful  address  to 
His  Majesty,  and  petitions  to  both  Houses  of  Parliament  should 
be  forwarded  in  favour  of  the  Reform  Bill.  And  on  the  i8th  of 
that  month  a  general  meeting  of  the  County  of  Renfrew  was  held  in 
the  Square  in  front  of  the  County  Buildings,- — Sir  John  Maxwell  in 
the  chair,— when  resolutions  were  passed  in  favour  of  the  Reform 
Bill,  and  of  an  address  to  His  Majesty  William  IV.;  and  it  was 
agreed  that  petitions  to  Parliament,  founded  on  these  resolutions, 
should  immediately  be  forwarded.  This  meeting  was  attended  by 
upwards  of  six  thousand  persons  of  a  fairly  representative  character. 
On  the  2 1  St  March  the  second  reading  of  the  Reform  Bill  was 
carried  in  the  House  of  Commons  by  a  majority  of  one.  This 
caused  great  excitement  throughout  the  country.  When  the  news 
of  this  result  arrived  in  Paisley,  they  afforded  the  greatest  satisfaction, 
and  the  different  reading-rooms  resounded  with  tumultuous  applause. 
In  a  few  hours  after  the  arrival  of  the  news,  a  requisition,  signed  by 
a  number  of  respectable  gentlemen  was  presented  to  the  Provost, 
requesting  permission  to  illuminate  the  town  on  Monday  evening, 
the  28th  March.  This  permission  was  granted  to  all  who  chose  to 
illuminate,  and  instructions  were  given  to  ring  the  bells  from  eight 
to  ten  in  the  evening.  On  that  day  the  County  Buildings  were 
decked  with  flags,  and  many  more  were  displayed  from  windows 
and  chimney- tops.  Notwithstanding  the  short  time  allowed  to 
prepare  devices  and  transparencies,  they  were  numerous,  and  many 
of  them  were  very  good.  The  County  Buildings  and  Mr.  Lowndes's 
house  bristled  with  torches.  In  Dr.  Baton's  window  was  displayed 
a  luminous  circle,  like  a  halo,  with  the  large  figure  "  One  "  in  the 
form  of  a  pillar  in  the  centre,  1688  on  the  apex,  183 1  at  the  base, 
while  on  the  shaft  of  the  pillar  there  was  inscribed  "one  is  enough." 
In  Mr.  Fletcher's  a  very  tasteful,  well -executed  transparency  was 
displayed,  with  the  King's  Crown  surmounted  by  302  ;  in  the  four 
angles  were  inscribed  the  names  of  Hamilton,  Argyle,  Grey,  and 
Russell,  and  in  a  panel  below  those  of  Jeffrey,  MTntosh,  Ferguson, 
Kennedy,  and  Grant.  Several  portraits  of  the  King  were  displayed. 
There  was  one  in  the  window  of  Mr.  Murray,  the  painter,  surmounted 
by  "  William  IV.  Rex.,"  and  in  a  circle  underneath  Earl  Grey  and 
His  Majesty's  Ministers.  His  Majesty  was  represented  in  Court  dress. 
The  likeness  was  striking,  and  was  very  generally  admired.  In  Mr. 
Gillespie's  window  there  appeared  a  beautiful  Crown,  with  the  words 


1825    TILL    1850.  261 

"  Loyal  Reform  "  beneath.  In  the  window  of  George  Gardner  was 
a  Crown,  supported  on  the  right  by  the  King,  and  on  the  left  by  the 
Ministry,  and  beneath  by  the  People ;  two  branches  composed  of 
the  Rose,  Thistle,  and  Shamrock  entwined,  sprang  from  "  unity  and 
freedom,"  and  meeting  at  the  top  formed  a  circle  in  which 
"Reform  Bill"  was  inscribed.  Near  it  in  the  window  of  Mr. 
Crawford's  office  was  a  transparency  with  a  Thistle  on  the  top,  in 
the  centre  a  Rose  and  a  Shamrock  occupying  the  two  corners ;  the 
King,  Lords,  and  Commons  were  joined  into  one  by  a  waving  line 
and  a  few  "ones."  The  amount  of  the  majority  was  placed  in 
different  positions  to  fill  up  space ;  immediately  beneath  were  the 
words  '"''  tria  una  jiinda"  joined  together  by  "one."  The  remainder 
of  the  space  was  occupied  with  the  following  expressions  : — "  The 
nobility  and  splendour  of  the  throne ;  the  honour,  virtue,  and 
renown  of  the  nobles ;  the  freedom,  prosperity,  and  happiness 
of  the  people  ;  the  regeneration  of  the  Constitution  ;  in  one  word, 
reform  insured  by  'unit-y.'  The  King,  the  sailor  King,  the 
Constitutional  King;  William  the  Reformer  for  ever  —  hurra."  In 
the  window  of  Conway  and  Collins,  jewellers,  there  was  a  very  good 
likeness  of  a  printing  press,  with  the  pressman  removing  from  the 
tympan  a  hand -bill  headed  Reform;  in  a  circle  above  that  was  the 
following  couplet : — 

'*  Aided  by  thee,  O  Art  Divine,  our  race  spurns  the  tyrants  in  or  out  of  place." 
"  The  press  is  the  fourth  estate  of  the  reahn." 

The  most  grandly  illuminated  house  was  that  of  Mr.  Simpson,  writer. 
In  three  windows  of  equal  size  were  well-executed  transparencies. 
In  the  one  on  the  left  was  a  cornucopia  pouring  out  all  the  blessings 
necessary  to  sweeten  the  lot  of  a  free  nation,  with  the  inscription  — 
"  Thanks  to  an  honest  Ministry  and  glorious  302."  On  the  right 
was  a  huge  scavenger's  besom,  with  the  words  —  "Good-bye  to 
corruption,  the  Boroughmongers,  and  the  whole  301  ";  and  in  the 
centre  was  a  crown,  with  the  words — "  Hail,  William  the  Reformer ; 
immortal  fame  awaits  thy  name,  thou  patriot  King."  The  house 
and  warehouse  of  Mr.  PuUar,  Causeyside,  was  illuminated  most 
tastefully.  One  ornament,  a  transparency,  decked  the  middle 
window,  with  the  words — "  Reform,  and  by  Grey  we  will  have  it." 
The  centre  part  of  the  triple  window  of  the  artist's  room  was  orna- 
mented with  a  portrait  of  the  King,  surmounted  by  "  Long  live 
King  William  the  Reformer,"  and  beneath  "  Let  liberty  prevail  and 
the  fine  arts  flourish."  In  one  of  the  windows  was  "  Success  to 
Lord  Russell's  labours."  In  the  Turf  Inn  were  two  racers,  one 
about  a  single  neck  ahead  of  the  other,  the  front  one  mounted  by 
Lord  Russell,  exclaiming — "The  race  is  won,"  and  Peel  on  the 
other,  saying — "  I  have  done  my  best,"  while  the  crowd  near  the 
winning-post  were  waving  their  hats  and  exclaiming — -"Wha 
would  ha'e  thocht  it?  "  The  word  "  Freedom  "  was  seen  in  a  corner 
not  far  from  the  winning-post,  and  on  the  tO])  of  the  post  was  the 
King,  waving  his  hat  to  the  victor  and  exclaiming — "  The  people 


262  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

must  have  their  rights."  Opposite  the  Turf  Inn,  in  a  window  of 
Mr.  Robb's  warehouse,  was  a  chister  of  Boroughmongers,  repre- 
sented by  rubbish,  and  a  great  tall  Reformer  with  a  huge  besom 
sweeping  them  out.  In  Mr.  Yuill's  window  was  a  fine  large  bee- 
hive, surmounted  by  the  words — "  Turning  out  the  drones  ";  and  the 
smart  little  workers  had  turned  them  out  with  such  rapidity  that 
a  cluster  of  them  had  accumulated  nearly  as  high  as  the  entrance  of 
the  hive.  At  the  window  of  Mr.  Stewart,  teacher,  New  Town,  a 
magic -lantern  was  fixed,  which  exhibited  a  great  variety  of  figures, 
to  the  amusement  of  the  spectators.  The  office  of  the  Gas  Com- 
pany was  illuminated  with  equal  brilliancy  and  taste.  They  had  a 
number  of  flexible  tubes  to  carry  the  gas,  and  in  one  window  these 
were  made  to  twine  neatly  round  a  St.  Andrew's  Cross,  in  another 
window  a  display  of  fancy  burners  was  shown,  while  in  the  centre 
was  a  crown,  supported  by  a  thistle,  with  the  words — "  God  save 
King  William  the  Fourth."  The  whole  had  an  imposing  appear- 
ance. On  the  lantern  in  front  of  the  ofiice  were  three  inscriptions 
—  "Let  us  have  light,  new  light,  and  more  light."  In  the  Broom- 
lands  Reading-room  was  displayed  a  balloon  beginning  to  ascend  ; 
the  car  was  loaded  with  rotten  burghs,  corn  laws,  sinecures,  and 
tithes,  all  in  bags.  From  the  netting  of  the  balloon  a  number  of 
ropes  were  suspended,  and  of  these  Wellington,  Peel,  Wetherall, 
and  some  others,  had  got  hold,  but  away  they  went  up  into  the  air. 
While  this  balloon  was  taking  the  Boroughmongers  up  into  the 
clouds,  there  was  exhibited  in  a  house  on  Renfrew  Road  a  ship 
engaged  exporting  them  by  sea.  The  vessel's  name  was  Corruption, 
as  indicated  by  her  colours  ;  motto,  ''  Where  bound? — Oblivion"  ; 
"  cargo,  Boroughmongers  ";  and  there  they  hung  so  as  to  appear 
uncertain  whether  they  should  jump  overboard  or  go  on  the  voyage. 
Others  displayed  paintings,  busts,  statues,  stuffed  birds,  mirrors, 
evergreens,  and  flowers.  The  King,  Earl  Grey,  the  Ministry,  and 
"  the  glorious  majority"  Avere  everywhere  lauded  ;  but  the  Borough- 
mongers were  dealt  with  in  many  very  summary  ways — some 
hanging  by  the  neck,  and  others  suspended  in  the  middle  of 
the  street  by  lines  extended  from  opposite  windows.  Two 
bands  of  music — the  Paisley  Amateur  one  of  thirty-two  and  the 
Levern  one  of  sixteen — perambulated  the  principal  streets,  pre- 
ceded by  banners  and  torch -bearers,  playing  airs  connected  with 
the  word  "  Liberty."  The  starting  tune  at  all  the  difterent  places 
where  they  stopped  was  always  "  Up  an'  waur  them  a',  ^^'illie  1  " 
The  weather  was  very  favourable,  and  the  turn-out  of  the  inhabit- 
ants was  immense,  High  Street  from  the  Old  Bridge  to  the  head 
of  Storie  Street  being  at  times  one  dense  mass. 

At  this  time  active  measures  were  taken  by  means  of  subscriptions 
to  establish  an  instrumental  band  in  the  town,  consisting  of  bugles, 
clarionets,  horns,  &c.  The  proposal  originated  with  the  Flute 
Club,  who  called  a  meeting  of  those  favourable  to  the  design,  in  the 
Philosophical  Institution,  on  19th  April,  when  a  committee  was 
appointed  to  procure  subscriptions.  The  proposal  was  afterwards 
successfully  carried  into  execution. 


1S25    TILL    1850.  263 

In  the  House  of  Commons  in  Committee,  on  19th  April,  an  amend- 
ment was  carried  relating  to  the  reduction  of  the  number  of  Knglish 
Members,  which  the  Ministry  deemed  fatal  to  the  Reform  Bill,  and 
shortly   thereafter   Parliament   was    dissolved.      Great   excitement 
followed  throughout  the  whole  country.     The  election  of  a  Member 
of  Parliament  to  represent  Renfrewshire  was  fixed  for  Monday,  the 
9th  May,  and  it  was  resolved  that  there  should  on  that  day  be  a 
grand  procession  from  Paisley  to  Renfrew  to  hold  a  meeting  there 
and  vote  an  address  to  the  King  on  the  occasion  of  his  dissolving 
Parliament  in  order  to  take  the  opinion  of  the  people  on  the  subject 
of  the  Reform  Bill.     This  was  perhaps  the  most  imposing  demon- 
stration that  ever  took  place  in  the  county,  and  the  enthusiasm  was 
quite   unprecedented.      The   place  of  assembling  was  St.   James 
Street;  and  by  half- past  nine  o'clock  that  street,  from  Love  Street 
to  Underwood  Street,  and  even  a  good  way  down  Caledonia  Street, 
was  one  dense  living  mass,  while  floating  over  their  heads  were  to 
be  seen  flags  of  all  colours,  sizes,  and  devices.     At  ten  o'clock  the 
procession  started,  in  the  following  order  :  —  J.   C.   Cunningham, 
preses  of  the  Trades'  Committee,  rode  in  front  to  clear  the  way,  and 
was  followed  by  the  local  band.      In  front  of  the  trades  rode  Mr. 
Murtrie,  superintendent  of  police.     The  hammermen,  masons,  and 
slaters  were  preceded  by  the  band  from  Bridgeton.     The  hammer- 
men, in  addition  to  an  anvil  and  some  other  implements,  had  three 
flags.     One  of  them  bore  the  regular  smiths'  arms,  the  second  had 
the  motto  "  With  hammer  in  hand  we  will  support  the  King,"  the 
other  "  With  hammer  and  hand  we  will  beat  out  corruption."     The 
masons  had  two  flags — the  one  with  Paisley  County  Buildings  and 
some  masonic  devices  ;  the  other,  painted  expressly  for  the  occasion, 
had  two  pillars  on  which  an  arch  stood  without  the  keystone,  but 
supported  by  Grey  and  Russell.     The  motto  on  the  top  was  — 
"The  foundation-stone  of  Reform  is  laid,"  and  beneath — "Ere 
long  the  building  shall  be  finished."     The  slaters  carried  a  ladder, 
with  the  inscription  attached — "With  the  ladder  of  Reform  we  will 
mount  above  the  Boroughmongers."     One  flag  had  on  it — "  Long 
hve  King  William,  the  personal  dispenser  of  the  Boroughmongers," 
and  on  another — "With  these  tools  we  strip  the  house  of  corrup- 
tion."     The  manufacturers   were   followed   by  the    seven  district 
parties  of  weavers,  having  a  band  of  music  and  six  flags  accompany- 
ing  each.      Among   the    devices    and    mottoes   were — "  Reform 
prevents  Revolution,"  "  Stand  fast  and  we  will  support  you,"  "  The 
genius  of  Scotland  with  the  Reform  Bill  in  her  hand — Reform  or 

"  (the  rest  of  the  sentence  was  indicated  by  a  sword  in  the 

other  hand  pointing  to  a  band  of  Highlanders  defiling  from  a 
mountain  pass),  "  We  are  many  and  determined,"  "  A  reforming 
King,  a  united  Ministry,  and  a  determined  people."  Among  a 
great  variety  of  ornaments  and  devices  were  carried  five  Lochaber 
axes,  nineteen  spontoons,  six  stands  of  colours,  four  garland  poles, 
nine  garlands,  twenty  gorgets,  seventy-five  pink  scarfs,  and  nineteen 
green  scarfs.     The  soapboilers  had  the  word   "  Reform,"  in  gilt 


264  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

letters  on  a  black  ground,  placed  in  the  front  of  their  hats.  The 
dyers  had  the  Govan  band  ;  on  one  of  their  flags  was  displayed 
the  Scottish  national  coat-of-arms,  surmounted  by  a  crown-motto — 
"  We  will  dye  for  the  cause."  The  bakers  had  the  Rutherglen  band 
and  two  flags.  The  tailors  had  a  band  from  Glasgow,  and  two  very 
handsome  flags.  The  cotton -spinners  had  one  flag,  and  there  was 
on  it — 

"  'Twas  Royal  William  swept  the  house, 
Then,  Boroughmongers,  why  so  crouse  ?  " 

The  flower-lashers,  painters,  clothlappers,  pattern  drawers,  stationers, 
printers,  and  bookbinders  had  Parkholm  band,  and  carried  a 
number  of  flags.  The  wrights  and  turners  had  the  Levern  band, 
and  carried  three  flags.  The  men,  about  170  of  them,  were  all 
well  dressed — the  masters  with  sashes  and  the  men  with  belts  of 
light  blue  ribbon.  Each  carried  a  six  feet  rod  in  his  hand,  on  which 
was  fixed  a  rosette  of  blue  ribbon,  and  many  of  them  had  a  neat 
little  crown  of  shavings.  They  all  had,  besides,  shoulder  rosettes  of 
ribbons.  They  were  everywhere  received  with  cheers.  The  coopers 
had  a  flute  band  and  five  flags.  The  ropemakers  had  on  their  flag 
a  figure  of  the  celebrated  female,  Joan  of  Arc  ;  motto,  "  Reform." 
The  tanners  had  in  their  front  ranks  one  of  their  number  riding  on 
an  ass,  and  entwined  behind  him  was  a  huge  pair  of  bullock's 
horns,  as  representative  of  John  Bull.  On  one  side  of  the  neck 
was  —  "  May  they  tan  our  hides  if  we  don't  show  our  horns  in 
defence  of  King  William,  Earl  Grey,  and  Reform ;"   on  the  other — 

"Boroughmongers  rode  us  long, 

And  pinch'd  us  sore  on  ilka  side  ; 
But  I'm  on  their  back  ;  if  they  don't  submit, 
I'm  now  resolved  to  tan  their  hide." 

The  shoemakers  had  the  Kilwinning  band  and  three  flags. 
Tobacco -spinners  and  cork-cutters  had  a  flute  band  from  Glasgow. 
On  one  of  the  flags  was  "  Long  live  King  William,  the  bloodless 
Reformer.  We  seek  Reform,  and  we  shall  have  it."  There  was 
also  a  very  large  number  of  boys,  with  flags  in  every  variety  of  size 
and  colour.  The  procession  was  joined  on  the  south -side  of  the 
town  by  the  party  from  Pollokshaws  and  Eastwood.  About  fifty  of 
the  respectable  yeomen  on  Sir  John  Maxwell's  estate  appeared  on 
horseback,  all  well  dressed,  carrying  a  number  of  beautiful  flags 
and  devices.  The  gardeners  joined  in  the  procession  with  those  of 
the  same  trades  from  Pollokshaws  and  other  places  in  the  south. 
In  addition  to  their  flags,  they  carried  a  great  variety  of  garlands, 
bouquets,  and  evergreen  shrubs,  and  presented  a  cheerful  and 
enlivening  appearance.  The  route  taken  was  up  Moss  Street  to  the 
Cross,  along  High  Street,  Wellmeadow  Street,  down  West  Street, 
along  George  Street,  down  Causeyside  to  foot  of  New  Street,  along 
Orchard  Street,  Bridge  Street,  a  part  of  Abbey  Street,  Cotton  Street, 
Gauze  Street,  and  through  Incle  Street  to  Renfrew  Road,  near 
Wallneuk.  Near  this  place  a  triumphal  arch  was  erected,  under 
which  the  procession  passed.     The  road  to  Renfrew  presented  such 


1825    TILL    1850.  265 

an  appearance  as,  we  believe,  was  never  before  witnessed. 
Throughout  its  whole  length  between  the  two  towns  it  was,  at  one 
period,  literally  covered  with  pedestrians.  The  procession  entered 
the  extensive  domains  of  Mr.  Speirs,  where  the  meeting  was  to  be 
held.  At  four  o'clock  the  election  was  over,  and  the  gentlemen 
who  were  engaged  at  it  marched  into  the  field  preceded  by  a  band 
of  music.  The  speakers  from  the  hustings,  erected  by  Mr.  Speirs, 
in  support  of  the  address  to  the  King,  were  Mr.  Cunningham,  Mr. 
Osburn,  and  Mr.  John  Thomson.  The  vast  assemblage  was  also 
addressed  by  Sir  M.  S.  Stewart,  Mr.  Patrick  M.  Stewart,  Mr.  John 
King,  Mr.  Wallace  of  Kelly,  and  Captain  Houston  Stewart.  No 
part  of  tlie  ceremony,  for  grand  effect,  could  be  compared  to  the 
appearance  which  the  multitude  presented  in  the  park. 

On  the  whole  the  procession  was  a  splendid  success.  The  day 
was  fine,  and  the  men  forming  the  procession  were,  generally 
speaking,  well  dressed.  All  manifested  a  desire  to  be  well  pleased. 
The  mottoes,  while  they  breathed  a  spirit  of  liberty  and  independ- 
ence, had,  with  few  exceptions,  no  tincture  of  bitterness.  The  num- 
ber who  marched  in  the  procession  from  Paisley  alone  was  estimated 
at  upwards  of  eight  thousand.  When  the  procession  passed  the 
Cross  in  the  morning,  there  were  thirty  bands  of  music  and  171 
flags ;  three  or  four  additional  bands,  and  from  thirty  to  forty  flags 
must  afterwards  have  been  added.  AVith  respect  to  the  whole 
number  on  the  field,  it  was  estimated  that  they  would  amount  to 
between  forty  and  fifty  thousand.  The  last  of  the  procession  arrived 
in  Paisley  about  half- past  six  o'clock.  Excellent  order  and  harmony 
were  everywhere  displayed. 

As  soon  as  the  proceedings  of  the  meeting  in  Mr.  Speirs's  policies 
were  concluded,  a  number  of  gentlemen  dined  in  the  Black  Bull 
Inn  —  Sir  M.  S.  Stewart  took  the  chair, — and  was  supported  on  the 
right  by  Sir  John  Maxwell  and  Mr.  Speirs,  and  on  the  left  by  Sir 
D.  K.  Sandford  and  Sheriff  Dunlop.  Captain  Stewart,  R.N.,  acted 
as  croupier,  and  was  supported  by  Dr.  Robert  Patrick  of  Trearne, 
and  Robert  Orr,  Esq.  of  Ralston. 

On  4th  May,  at  a  special  meeting,  the  Commissioners  of  Police 
voted  a  congratulatory  address  to  the  King  on  the  late  exercise 
of  his  prerogative  in  dissolving  Parliament,  for  the  purpose  of 
ascertaining  the  sentiments  of  the  people  on  the  subject  of  reform. 
The  Renfrewshire  Political  Union,  at  a  meeting  held  in  the  West 
Relief  Church  on  3rd  May,  agreed  to  present  an  address  somewhat 
similar.  The  Renfrewshire  Agricultural  Society  also,  on  26th  May, 
transmitted  a  dutiful  address  to  His  Majesty,  thanking  him  for  the 
enlightened  and  patriotic  support  he  had  given  to  the  great  measure 
of  reform  by  the  dissolution  of  Parliament. 

The  first  annual  meeting  of  the  Renfrewshire  Political  Union  was 
held  on  the  4th  July, — Sir  John  Maxwell  presiding.  On  Mr.  John 
Crawford  being  proposed  as  a  member  of  Council,  he  stated  that  his 
political  opinions  should  be  known  before  proceeding  to  the  vote ; 
and  he  explained  that  he  was  a  Reformer  but  no  Radical,  nor  an 

S 


266  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

approver  of  universal  suffrage,  annual  parliaments,  or  vote  by  ballot; 
he  was  also  no  Huntite.  Mr.  Wallace,  in  the  conversation  that 
followed,  said  he  suspected  there  was  some  mistake  about  the 
meaning  of  the  word  Radical  —  it  did  not  necessarily  involve 
universal  suffrage  —  the  word  meant  "belonging  to  the  root  of  any- 
thing"—  and  Radical  Reform  meant  a  rooting  out  of  all  abuses.^ 

The  great  increase  in  the  number  of  members  returned  to  Par- 
hament  who  were  in  favour  of  the  Reform  Bill,  secured  its  easy 
passage  by  large  majorities  through  all  its  different  stages  in  the 
House  of  Commons.  After  the  bill  had  passed  the  third  reading  in 
that  House  on  22nd  September  by  the  large  majority  of  109,  as  many 
people  in  Paisley  had  still  strong  doubts  of  the  House  of  Lords  agree- 
ing to  the  bill,  a  public  meeting  was  held  in  the  church  in  St.  James 
Street  to  address  the  King  and  to  petition  the  Upper  House  on  the 
urgent  necessity  of  passing  the  Reform  Bill.  John  Bell,  Esq., 
Woodside,  was  called  on  to  preside,  and  the  resolutions  proposed 
were  supported  by  Mr.  J.  ISI.  Bell,  advocate,  Mr.  Kennedy,  Mr. 
William  Barr,  and  Mr.  George  Masson.  Mr.  Maxwell,  yr.  of 
Pollok,  on  being  called  on  by  the  meeting,  also  addressed  those 
present.  The  meeting  was  well  attended.  The  Provost  had  been 
requested  by  a  number  of  persons  to  call  it,  but  he  had  declined  to 
do  so,  as  he  thought  it  unnecessary.  The  progress  of  the  Reform 
Bill  in  the  House  of  Lords  was  watched  throughout  the  country 
with  feverish  anxiety ;  and  the  Renfrewshire  Political  Union 
resolved,  at  a  meeting  held  on  the  7th  October,  that  in  the  event  of 
the  Peers  rejecting  the  bill,  a  great  county  meeting  should  imme- 
diately thereafter  take  place.  On  Monday  evening,  the  loth  October, 
the  startling  intelligence  having  arrived  that  the  House  of  Lords  had 
on  the  previous  Saturday  morning  rejected  the  bill  by  a  majority  of 

^  A  Paisley  friend  writes  to  inform  us  that  his  brethren  of  the  Political  Union 
there  are  like  to  fly  into  each  others'  faces  about  the  real  meaning  of  the  word 
Radical, — some  affirming  that  Radical  Reformer  is  a  most  respectable  cognomen, 
and  others  maintaining  that  since  the  compound  substantive  has  been  employed 
to  designate  such  men  as  Hunt  and  his  party,  it  has  become  allocated,  and 
should  never  henceforth  be  applied  to  any  friend  of  consistency.  The  writer 
asks  our  opinion  on  the  question,  and  hopes  that  our  decision  may  pour  oil  on 
the  troubled  spirits  of  the  Paisley  politicians.  All  we  can  say  on  the  subject  is, 
that  Johnson,  Walker,  and  other  lexicographers,  give  a  veiy  satisfactory 
description  of  the  adjective  "Radical,"  but  we  have  no  authoritative  explanation 
of  the  noun  "Radical"  on  record.  A  Tory  Dictionary  and  a  Whig  one  are  at 
present  going  through  the  press  here ;  and  our  friends  Oliver  &  Boyd  have 
favoured  us  with  a  proof-sheet  of  both  to  look  up  the  meaning  of  the  dubious 
word.  The  Tory  Dictionary  explains  it  thus: — '■'■Radical  "  having  the  properties 
of  a  broom  or  besom  —  a  sweeping  propensity.  A  Radical,  a  political  scavenger 
—  a  leveller  of  established  institutions  —  a  serf  or  mean  person  who  pays  taxes, 
and  applies  sweeping  remedies  to  every  abuse  ennobled  by  time.  Radicalism,  a 
tendency  to  sedition,  or  incurable  love  for  radical  reform  —  in  pathology, 
Radicalism  is  a  non- epidemical  disease,  vulgarly  called  Huntism.  i'he  Whig 
Dictionary  gives  its  definition  thus: — Radical,  the  preservative  principle  of 
animal  and  vegetable  substances.  A  Radical — a  patriot,  a  man  of  sound  under- 
standing, a  lover  of  justice  and  hater  of  iniquity.  Radicalism,  the  essence  of 
truth  and  purity  —  the  love  of  reforming  abuses  in  church  and  state  {Scotsman 
Newspaper,  July,  183 1). 


1825    TIIX    1850.  267 

41,  a  meeting  of  merchants,  manufacturers,  and  others  was  imaie- 
diately  held,  when  it  was  agreed  to  present  a  requisition  to  the  Pro- 
vost to  call  a  public  meeting.  This  he  agreed  to  do,  and  on  the 
following  forenoon  placards  were  circulated  calling  a  meeting,  to  be 
held  in  the  Old  Low  Church  the  same  afternoon  at  three  o'clock. 
At  that  hour  the  church  was  greatly  crowded,  while  parties  from 
different  parts  of  the  town,  with  flags  and  music,  continued  to  arrive 
in  such  numbers,  that  it  was  resolved  to  adjourn  to  the  churchyard, 
where,  notwithstanding  the  almost  continuous  rain,  the  business  was 
transacted.  There  were  ten  flags  placed  round  the  slightly -raised 
place  on  which  the  committee  and  speakers  stood.  As  the  Provost 
did  not  appear  to  preside,  Mr.  A.  H.  Simpson,  writer,  was  called  on 
to  do  so.  After  some  spirited  speeches  had  been  delivered,  the 
meeting  resolved  to  address  the  King  to  the  effect  that  no  plan  of 
Parliamentary  reform  less  extensive  than  that  proposed  in  the 
Reform  Bill  would  give  satisfaction  ;  that,  having  perfect  confidence 
in  the  present  Ministry,  His  Majesty  should  retain  them  ;  that  His 
Majesty  should  exercise  his  Royal  prerogative  by  creating  Peers  to 
secure  the  passing  of  the  bill,  and  that  the  opposition  to  its  passage 
had  been  injurious  to  the  commercial  interests  of  the  country.  The 
speakers,  besides  the  chairman,  were  Mr.  A.  Yuill,  Mr.  I).  Murray, 
Dr.  Henning,  Mr.  W.  Aitken,  Mr.  J.  Osborne,  and  Mr.  J.  Thomson. 
Another  great  public  meeting,  called  by  the  Justices  of  Peace  and 
others,  was  held  in  a  field  on  the  south  side  of  the  Canal,  east  from 
Camphill.  Sir  John  Maxwell,  on  the  motion  of  Mr.  Speirs  of 
Elderslie,  was  called  to  the  chair.  The  speakers  were,  besides  the 
chairman,  Mr.  J.  M.  Bell,  advocate,  Mr.  Wallace  of  Kelly,  Mr. 
John  Maxwell,  yr.  of  PoUok,  Mr.  Alexander  Speirs,  yr.  of  Elderslie, 
Mr.  Bontine  of  Ardoch,  Mr.  James  Fleming,  Mr.  M'Kerrell,  an 
avowed  candidate  for  the  representation  of  Paisley,  Mr.  J.  Hender- 
son, Mr.   J.   Barr,   Mr.  George   Masson,   and  Mr.   Collins.      The 

'1*1 

resolutions  agreed  to  were  in  effect  similar  to  those  carried  m  the 
Old  Low  Churchyard.  There  were  about  thirty  flags  of  various 
descriptions  near  the  hustings,  and  a  number  of  bands  of  music. 
Among  the  flags  was  a  fine  new  one  belonging  to  the  First  Ward, 
of  blue  silk,  with  the  Paisley  coat-of-arms  emblazoned  on  it. 
The  number  of  persons  estimated  to  have  been  present  at  the 
meeting  was  about  40,000. 

The  Reform  Bill  was  again  introduced  in  the  following  session  of 
Parliament,  and,  after  passing  successfully  through  the  House  of 
Commons,  was  read  a  second  time  in  the  House  of  Lords  on  7th 
May.  But  the  IV'Iinistry  were  defeated  in  Committee.  Earl  Grey 
and  his  colleagues  at  once  tendered  their  resignation,  which  the 
King  accepted.  At  this  sudden  change  of  affairs,  when  it  was 
thought  the  Reform  Bill  was  progressing  favourably  through  the 
House  of  Lords,  the  excitement  in  the  country  became  most  intense. 
It  became  even  more  so  when  it  was  known  that  the  King  had  desired 
the  Duke  of  Wellington  to  form  a  new  Ministry.  On  the  arrival  of 
this  intelligence  by  the  London  mail  on  Friday  afternoon,  the  nth 


2  68  HISTORY  OF  PAISI.F.Y. 

May,  the  committee  who  had  been  appointed  to  watch  the  progress 
of  the  Reform  Bill  called  a  public  meeting,  to  be  held  at  Mr. 
Patison's  mound  at  the  race- course,  on  the  following  day  at  one 
o'clock.  The  meeting  was  attended  by  about  4000  persons,  among 
whom  were  a  number  of  musicians.  Two  flags  and  a  banner  were 
planted  beside  the  speakers.  The  edge  of  the  banner  was  black, 
and  it  bore  the  inscription — "  Trust  not  in  princes.  We'll  die  our 
rights  maintaining."  Mr.  A.  H.  Simpson  was  called  on  to  preside. 
Many  stirring  and  indignant  speeches  were  delivered  in  support  of 
the  resolutions,  which  were,  first,  to  thank  Earl  Grey  for  standing 
firm  to  his  principles,  and,  second,  to  petition  the  House  of 
Commons  to  stop  the  supplies.  When  the  business  was  finished, 
the  chairman  recommended  all  to  go  home  in  peace.  The  com- 
mittee and  a  number  of  gentlemen,  with  the  flag  in  front,  marched 
to  the  town,  followed  by  the  greater  part  of  those  who  attended  the 
meeting.  Perfect  order  and  regularity  prevailed.  On  Monday 
afternoon  following,  the  Paisley  band  of  music  paraded  the  streets, 
preceded  by  a  large  standard,  carried  by  two  men,  on  which  was 
inscribed  the  following  notice  : — "  An  extraordinary  meeting  of  the 
Renfrewshire  Political  Union,  and  of  all  those  who  are  ready  to  join 
it,  will  be  held  at  Mr.  Patison's  mound  this  evening  at  six  o'clock." 
By  that  hour  a  dense  multitude  had  assembled  in  front  of  the 
mound,  and  parties  were  to  be  seen  advancing  from  every  direction. 
Some  of  the  districts  had  flags,  and  one  party  had  a  small  standard 
on  which  was  inscribed — "United  we  stand;  divided  we  fall." 
The  band  on  approaching  no  longer  played  the  popular  air  of 
"  Up  and  waur  them  a',  Willie  ";  but  the  people  came  forward  with 
solemn  step  to  Handel's  "  Dead  March."  On  two  flags  belonging 
to  Sneddon  district  the  portrait  of  His  Majesty  was  painted  with 
the  head  reversed,  and,  a  fire  having  been  prepared,  they  were 
committed  to  the  flames  amidst  the  cheers  and  execrations  of  the 
meeting.  A  crimson  flag  shared  the  same  fate  as  the  two  others. 
Some  vigorous  speeches  were  delivered  by  those  who  proposed  and 
supported  the  resolutions,  which  condemned  the  advisers  behind  the 
Throne,  whose  machinations  had  led  to  such  calamitous  results, 
and  who  deserved  to  be  impeached  as  traitors  to  the  country.  The 
meeting  also  deplored  the  return  of  the  Duke  of  Wellington  to 
power,  as  the  upholder  of  everything  that  was  inimical  to  the  rights 
and  welfare  of  the  people  and  the  certain  introducer  of  military 
despotism  or  of  violent  revolution.  After  the  business  was  over, 
the  meeting  marched  to  the  town,  preceded  by  the  band  of  music 
and  by  drums  and  fifes.  On  reaching  the  Cross,  the  band  having 
played  "  Blue  bonnets  over  the  border,"  the  assemblage  separated 
in  peace  and  quietness. 

A  great  county  meeting  was  also  held  upon  the  lawn  at  EldersHe 
House  on  Saturday,  19th  May.  Processions,  composed  of  people 
from  nearly  all  the  towns  in  Renfrewshire,  marched  to  Renfrew  to 
attend  this  meeting.  The  various  bodies  which  had  expressed  their 
intention  to  walk  from  Paisley  to  Renfrew  mustered  in  St.  James 


1825    TILL    1850.  269 

Street ;  and  having  taken  their  stations  according  to  appointment, 
began  to  march  about  half- past  eleven  o'clock.  The  Superintendent 
of  Police  as  grand  marshal,  assisted  by  a  deputy- marshal,  led  the 
van.  Next  to  them  was  a  very  effective  band  of  music,  seated  on  a 
van  drawn  by  four  horses.  These  were  followed  by  sixty-four  men 
on  horseback,  walking  two  and  two.  The  pedestrians,  headed  by 
the  manufacturers,  followed  in  order  four  and  four.  Of  flags  and 
banners  of  every  kind  there  were  103.  The  number  of  persons  in 
the  procession  was  about  2500.  There  were  eighteen  bands  of 
music  of  different  degrees  of  efiiciency,  besides  one  mounted  and  a 
few  pedestrian  pipers.  The  line  of  march  was  similar  to  that 
of  the  previous  year,  and  at  Wallneuk  a  handsome  triumphal  arch 
was  erected  for  the  procession  to  pass  under.  The  various  parties 
from  the  different  towns  of  the  county  arrived  at  the  field  about  two 
o'clock.  Among  them  was  a  large  body  from  Greenock,  headed  by 
some  of  the  Magistrates,  and  a  party  of  about  2000  pedestrians  and 
140  horses  from  Pollokshaws,  headed  by  Sir  John  Maxwell,  the 
provost  of  that  town,  and  some  of  the  masters  of  public  works.  In 
the  field,  a  short  distance  from  the  mansion-house,  hustings  were 
erected,  on  which  were  ranged  a  number  of  county  gentlemen  who 
intended  to  speak  on  the  occasion,  the  members  of  various  political 
committees,  the  reporters  for  the  press,  some  delegates  of  the  trades, 
and  several  ladies  of  distinction.  Mr.  Speirs  of  Elderslie  was  called 
on  to  preside  ;  and  the  other  speakers  were  John  Maxwell,  Esq.,  yr. 
of  Pollok,  Sir  John  Maxwell,  Robert  Orr,  Esq.  of  Ralston,  Mr. 
Wallace  of  Kelly,  Mr.  M'Alister,  Lochwinnoch,  Alexander  Speirs, 
Esq.,  yr.  of  Elderslie,  Mr.  William  Barr,  Mr.  R.  C.  Bontine,  Mr. 
Park,  Renfrew,  Mr.  Stewart  of  Stewarthall,  Mr.  Dunlop  of  Arthur- 
lie,  Mr.  James  Fleming,  Mr.  Thomson,  Mr.  Eraser,  Johnstone, 
Mr.  James  Lambert,  Barrhead,  Mr.  William  Aitken,  Mr.  Leitch, 
Pollokshaws,  Sir  Daniel  K.  Sandford,  Mr.  David  Ritchie.  The 
principal  resolutions  carried  advocated  a  creation  of  Liberal  Peers 
in  favour  of  Reform,  and  the  withholding  of  all  supplies  until  the 
Reform  Bills  were  carried.  The  number  of  individuals  in  the 
field,  it  was  estimated,  would  be  from  25,000  to  30,000.  Of 
flags  and  banners  there  were  about  170,  and  among  the  mottoes 
on  them  were  "  Death  or  Liberty,"  "  The  whole  Bill  or  more  than 
the  Bill,"  "  Boroughmongers  on  their  Last  Legs,"  "  Going,  Going, 
Gone,"  "  The  Majority  of  the  People,"  "  A  nation's  degradation  is 
not  its  forced  subjection  but  its  tame  submission  to  misrule," 
"  Scotland  expects  every  man  to  do  his  duty,"  "  Reformers 
a'thegether  draw  and  break  the  Boroughmongers  law,"  "  Now  or 
never."  In  front  of  the  hustings  a  cap  of  hberty  was  stuck  on  a 
pole,  with  the  inscription,  "  The  Rights  of  Man,"  and  near  it  was 
the  representation  of  a  human  hand  cut  off  at  the  wrist  by  a  bloody 
sword,  with  the  motto,  "  The  last  shift,  the  only  cure."  There  were 
very  few  black  flags,  and  only  one  tri -colour.  The  flag  borne  by 
the  Covenanters  at  the  batUe  of  Drumclog  was  also  on  the  field. 
The  spectacle  on  the  field  was  altogether  very  imposing.     By  five 


270  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

o'clock  the  last  of  the  parties  marched  out  of  the  field  to  the  tune  of 
"  Scots  wha  ha'e,"  and  between  six  and  seven  o'clock  the  procession 
arrived  at  Paisley  and  afterwards  broke  up.^ 

Similar  indignation  meetings  were  held  throughout  the  whole 
country,  and  the  majority  of  the  people  were  in  a  most  dissatisfied 
and  indignant  mood  at  the  new  turn  of  afiairs  regarding  the  Reform 
Bill.  Fortunately  Wellington  failed  to  form  a  new  ministry,  and 
the  King  was  under  the  necessity  of  recalling  Earl  Grey  along  with 
his  former  colleagues.  They  agreed  to  be  reinstated  on  the  under- 
standing that  it  would  be  in  their  power  to  create  a  sufticient  number 
of  new  Peers  to  enable  them  to  carry  the  Reform  Bill  through  the 
House  of  Lords.  The  Scotch  Bill,  after  being  introduced  into 
Parliament,  passed  rapidly  through  both  Houses  with  little  opposition, 
and  received  the  Royal  assent  on  17th  July.  In  anticipation  of 
this  important  measure  becoming  the  law  of  the  land,  a  meeting  of 
the  future  electors  of  Paisley  was  held  in  the  Church,  St.  James 
Street,  on  5th  July,  to  consider  the  propriety  of  requesting  a  proper 
person  to  represent  Paisley  in  Parliament,  and  to  determine  what 
measures  should  be  adopted  in  a  reformed  Parliament  for  the  good 
of  the  country.  A  requisition,  signed  by  four  hundred  of  the  future 
electors,  had  been  presented  to  the  Provost  to  call  this  meeting,  but 
he  declined  to  do  so.  Robert  Orr,  Esq.  of  Ralston,  was  called 
upon  to  preside.  The  meeting  agreed  to  a  series  of  eight  pledges 
that  a  candidate  should  give  before  being  elected.  Stated  shortly 
they  were  — the  repeal  of  septennial  and  the  re-establishment 
of  triennial  parliaments ;  the  total  abolition  of  all  monopolies  and 
restrictions  on  trade,  particularly  the  corn  laws,  and  all  other  law^s 
aftecting  the  importation  of  human  food  ;  the  setting  free  of  the  trade 
with  India  and  China,  and  the  abolition  of  the  bank  monopoly  ;  the 
repeal  of  assessed  taxes,  and  all  taxes  on  knowledge  or  aftecting 
articles  of  health  and  cleanliness,  and  also  the  abolition  of  all 
unnecessary  offices  and  unmerited  pensions  ;  the  procuring  of  a 
revision  of  the  manner  in  which  laws  are  administered,  so  as  to 
secure  cheap  and  expeditious  justice ;  the  insisting  on  the  speedy 
abolition  of  colonial  slavery;  the  abolition  of  the  law  of  entail,  and 
the  placing  of  the  heritable  property  of  persons  dying  intestate  on  a 
similar  footing  with  movable  property.  But  the  last  pledge  was  the 
most  serious  and  degrading  one,  viz.,  "That  I  will,  at  all  times,  and 
in  all  things,  act  in  my  capacity  of  representative  conformably  to  the 
wishes  of  my  constituents,  deliberately  expressed;  and  if  I  shall  at 
any  time  not  feel  inclined  to  do  so,  I  shall,  at  their  request,  resign 
to  them  the  trust  committed  to  me."     The  meeting  further  resolved 

^  On  4th  June,  Mr.  Speirs  of  Elderslie  was  entertained  by  the  Refonners  at  a 
public  dinner  in  the  Tontine  Inn,  Paisley — Mr.  Robert  Bisset  in  the  chair  — 
and  presented  with  a  large  silver  medal,  in  token  of  their  respect  for  his  public- 
spirited  conduct  in  granting  the  Reformers  of  Renfrewshire,  upon  several 
occasions,  a  place  to  hold  their  public  meetings.  The  first  toast  on  that  occasion 
M-as  "  The  people  the  source  of  all  legitimate  power,"  and  the  second  "The 
King." 


1825    TILL    1850.  271 

that  Sir  John  Maxwell  was  eminently  qualified  to  become  a  candidate 
for  the  representation  of  Paisley.  On  the  following  day  Sir  John 
Maxwell  published  an  address  to  the  prospective  electors  of  Paisley, 
agreeing  to  become  a  candidate  to  represent  them  in  Parliament. 
John  M'Kerrell,  Esq.  of  Hillhouse,  who  had  offered  his  services  as 
far  back  as  ist  October,  1831,  was  also  a  candidate.  On  the  8th  of 
this  month  a  meeting  of  the  friends  of  Sir  John  Maxwell  was  held  in 
the  Court  Hall.  Robert  Orr,  Esq.  of  Ralston,  who  Avas  called  on 
to  preside,  stated  that  the  committee  appointed  at  last  meeting  had 
waited  upon  Sir  John,  who,  in  the  most  cordial  manner  accepted 
all  their  pledges  as  the  rule  of  his  conduct.  Arrangements  were 
made  to  institute  a  street  canvass  of  the  electors  in  order  to  secure 
Sir  John  Maxwell's  return. 

According  to  arrangements  made  some  time  previously,  the 
jubilee  to  celebrate  the  passing  of  the  Reform  Bill  took  place  on  the 
23rd  September.  The  ceremony  consisted  of  a  procession  through 
several  streets  in  the  town,  and  afterwards  a  public  meeting  in 
County  Square.  The  number  of  those  who  joined  in  the  procession 
was  under  fifteen  hundred.  There  were  twelve  bands  of  music, 
forty-nine  flags,  and  a  variety  of  devices  of  different  descriptions. 
At  the  meeting  in  County  Square,  Mr.  John  Dunlop  was  called  to 
the  chair ;  and  resolutions  were  passed  congratulatory  of  the  passing 
of  the  Reform  Bill,  and  other  measures  were  referred  to  that  should 
engage  the  attention  of  the  first  reformed  parliament.  In  the 
afternoon  there  was  also  a  jubilee  dinner  in  the  large  hall  of  the 
Renfrewshire  Tontine.  It  was  well  attended,  there  being  250 
present,  and  the  price  of  the  ticket  was  2s.  6d.  C.  G.  Bontine  of 
Ardoch  was  in  the  chair.  The  first  toast  was  "  The  King,  and  may 
he  never  forget  that  he  derives  all  his  power  from  the  people."  The 
second  toast  was  "  The  people,  from  whom  all  power  is  derived." 
The  proposers  of  the  toasts,  besides  those  of  the  chairman,  were  Mr. 
Wallace  of  Kelly,  Rev.  Mr.  Baird,  Mr.  William  Aitken,  Mr.  George 
Gardner,  Mr.  Speirs,  Mr.  David  Murray,  Mr.  John  Mure,  Mr. 
William  Barr,  Mr.  J.  M.  Bell,  Sir  John  Maxwell,  Mr.  Robert  Muir, 
and  Mr.  John  M'Kerrell.  The  dinner  proceedings  were  prolonged 
till  midnight,  and  passed  off  very  well. 

The  contest  between  Sir  John  Maxwell  and  Mr.  M'Kerrell  for 
the  representation  of  Paisley  was  generally  conducted  in  a  most 
becoming  manner,  being  free  from  the  poHtical  acerbities  displayed 
in  many  other  places.  One  great  cause  for  this  state  of  matters  was 
the  very  general  unanimity  of  both  electors  and  non- electors  in 
favour  of  Sir  John  Maxwell.  The  political  feeling  manifested  in  the 
county  contest  was  very  different.  A  week  before  the  election  came 
on,  the  Sheriff  of  the  County  and  the  Provost  and  Magistrates  of 
Paisley  deemed  it  their  duty  to  issue  a  proclamation,  calling  "  upon 
the  respectable  inhabitants  of  Paisley  and  of  the  county  at  large, 
whatever  be  their  political  bias,  to  do  their  utmost,  by  influence  and 
example,  to  discountenance  and  prevent  all  proceedings  which  may 
embitter   or   exasperate   political   hostility,    and    thereby   lead   to 


272  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY, 

violence  and  riot.  On  such  occasions  of  excitement  the  display  of 
ensigns  and  badges  of  political  partizanship,  or  pageants  and 
processions  with  flags  and  music,  were  dangerous  follies,  which  may 
speedily  lead  to  end  in  crimes  ;  but  if  resorted  to  during  the  period 
of  polling,  they  will  receive  and  deserve  a  worse  character,  and  will, 
with  reason,  be  complained  of  as  devices  expressly  calculated  for 
intimidation  in  order  to  destroy  freedom  of  election,  to  the  imminent 
hazard  of  the  pubhc  peace." 

The  nomination  of  the  candidates  for  the  representation  of  the 
town  took  place  on  hustings  erected  in  front  of  the  County 
Buildings,  on  Monday,  i6th  December.  Sir  John  Maxwell  was 
proposed  by  Mr.  Robert  Orr  of  Ralston,  and  seconded  by  Mr. 
WiJIiam  Barr,  writer.  After  Sir  John  Maxwell  had  addressed  those 
present,  Mr.  M'Kerrell  was  proposed  by  Mr.  Alexander  Borland, 
and  seconded  by  Mr.  John  Roxburgh.  Mr.  M'Kerrell  addressed 
the  assemblage.  Mr.  John  King,  advocate,  who  had  been 
canvassing  the  electors  for  three  or  four  months,  attempted  to  speak 
about  the  slave  trade,  but  the  meeting  would  not  listen  to  him. 
The  show  of  hands  was  vastly  in  favour  of  Sir  John  Maxwell ;  but 
Mr.  M'Kerrell's  friends  demanded  a  poll,  which  the  Sheriff  fixed  to 
take  place  on  Wednesday  and  Thursday  following,  the  i8th  and 
19th  December.  The  ceremony  being  altogether  new,  an  immense 
assemblage  surrounded  the  hustings.  On  Wednesday,  the  polling 
proceeded  with  the  greatest  regularity  and  dispatch.  Sir  John 
Maxwell  shot  ahead  with  great  rapidity  at  the  outset,  and  con- 
tinued rapidly  to  distance  his  competitor  till  the  close.  By  twelve 
o'clock  one  half  of  the  whole  voters  had  declared  themselves  in  his 
favour,  and  Mr.  M-Kerrell's  friends  came  to  the  resolution  that  they 
should  retire  from  the  contest.  When  the  poll-books  were  opened 
on  the  Friday  following,  it  was  found  that  777  had  voted  for  Sir 
John  Maxwell,  and  180  for  Mr.  M'Kerrell,  thus  giving  a  majority 
of  587  for  the  former.  On  the  afternoon  of  that  day  a  public  dinner 
was  given  to  Mr.  M'Kerrell  by  a  party  of  his  friends.  Although  the 
meeting  was  got  up  at  a  few  hours'  notice,  the  large  ball-room  in  the 
Saracen's  Head  Inn  was  unable  to  contain  the  number  that  applied 
for  tickets.  The  chair  was  filled  by  Mr.  Alexander  Borland,  and 
Mr.  Robert  Hannah  acted  as  croupier. 

The  first  Reformed  Parliament  assembled  early  in  February, 
1833,  and  on  the  14th  of  that  month  Mr.  Hume's  motion  for  the 
abolition  of  sinecures  did  not  receive  the  support  of  the  Member 
for  Paisley.  This  procedure  gave  great  offence  to  many  of  those 
who  voted  for  him.  He  was  written  to  on  the  subject  by  the 
Political  Union,  and  a  requisition,  signed  by  148  electors,  was 
presented  to  the  Provost  "  to  convene  a  public  meeting  of  the 
electors  for  the  purpose  of  choosing  a  committee  of  their  number  to 
correspond  with  the  representative  of  this  town  in  Parliament 
regarding  any  instructions  necessary  for  him  as  to  the  course  he 
should  pursue  on  such  matters,  either  of  a  national  or  local  character, 
us  they  may  consider  of  so  much  importance  as  to  require  the  inter- 


1825    TILL    1850.  273 

ference  of  his  constituents."  It  was  also  intended  that  this 
"  meeting  should  take  into  consideration  the  bill  then  before  Parlia- 
ment for  the  coercion  of  Ireland."  As  Provost  Orr  dechned  to  call 
the  meeting,  it  was  called  by  the  requisitionists,  and  was  held  in  the 
AVest  Relief  Church  on  the  5th  March.  Mr.  Robert  Muir,  late 
chairman  of  Sir  John  Maxwell's  committee,  w-as  called  on  to  preside. 
After  much  discussion,  in  which  the  conduct  of  Sir  John  Maxwell 
was  very  severely  condemned  by  nearly  all  the  speakers,  a  com- 
mittee consisting  of  three  persons  from  each  of  the  wards  was 
appointed  to  form  a  committee  of  correspondence  with  the  repre- 
sentative of  the  town.  An  amendment  that,  having  broken  his 
pledges,  he  should  be  called  upon  to  resign,  was  lost.  The  meeting 
also  agreed  to  petition  against  the  Irish  Coercion  Bill.  The 
Political  Union  petitioned  against  the  Irish  Coercion  Bill  proposed 
by  the  Government,  and  requested  Sir  John  INIaxwell  to  present  the 
petition.  At  a  meeting  of  that  body  held  on  the  4th  of  March,  a 
letter  from  the  Member  was  read,  stating  "  I  fairly  own  that  I 
cannot  consistently  support  the  prayer  of  it.  I  am  perfectly  con- 
vinced of  the  necessity  of  some  strong  measure  to  put  a  stop  to  the 
murders,  (See,  and  I  have  formed  my  opinion  from  the  statements 
of  the  Repealers  themselves."  This  letter  excited  general  disap- 
probation in  the  meeting,  and  several  members  expressed  their  dis- 
satisfaction at  Sir  John's  conduct.  The  following  motion  was 
unanimously  agreed  to  :  —  "  That  the  meeting  feels  much  disap- 
pointed at  the  course  which  Sir  John  INIaxwell  has  pursued  since  he 
went  to  Parliament,  and  strongly  and  decidedly  disapprove  of  his 
vote  against  Mr.  Hume's  motion  for  abolishing  sinecures,  and  of  his 
purpose  of  supporting  the  Irish  Coercion  Bill,  both  of  which  are  at 
variance  with  his  previously- expressed  political  sentiments."  A 
])ublic  meeting  was  held  on  the  8th  April,  in  the  church,  St.  James 
Street,  to  bring  under  review  the  correspondence  between  the 
committee  of  the  constituents  and  Sir  John  Maxwell  regarding  his 
refusing  to  present  and  support  the  petition  against  the  Irish 
Coercion  Bill.  Mr.  Robert  Muir,  merchant,  was  called  to  the  chair. 
Resolutions  strongly  condemnatory  of  Sir  John's  conduct  were 
agreed  to  by  the  meeting,  as  being  contrary  to  the  pledges  he  had 
given.  No  further  conflicting  opinions  of  a  serious  nature  arose 
between  the  honourable  baronet  and  his  constituents  during  the 
remainder  of  the  session.  But  after  the  meeting  of  Parliament  in 
the  following  year.  Sir  John,  in  a  kindly  letter  dated  21st  February, 
1834,  addressed  to  Provost  Hardie,  intimated  his  resolution  to 
resign  his  seat.  Among  other  things  in  that  letter,  he  stated — 
"  I  gave  an  assiduous  attention  to  every  debate,  and  voted  on  every 
question  conscientiously — sometimes  with  the  Ministers,  sometimes 
against  them,  but  always  to  the  best  of  my  judgment.  I  came  in 
an  independent  man,  I  go  out  the  same  ;  and  while  I  freely  forgive 
those  who  rashly  condemned  me,  I  most  truly  and  gratefully 
acknowledge  the  kindness  of  all  my  friends,  and  continue  to  desire 
as  sincerely  as  ever  the  individual  happiness,  the  liberty,  the  peace, 


2  74  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

and  the  prosperity  of  the  inhabitants  of  Paisley."     Sir  John  Max- 
well died  31st  July,  1844. 

The  candidates  who  at  once  came  forward  to  represent  Paisley  in 
Parliament  were  Sir  D.  Keyte  Sandford,  Professor  of  Greek  in  Glasgow 
University  ;    Mr.  John  Douglas,  writer,  Glasgow  ;  Captain  James 
Edward  Gordon,  R.N.,  residing  in  Morayshire  ;  and  Mr.  John  Craw- 
furd,  London.     As  the  political  opinions  of  Mr.  Douglas  and  Mr. 
Crawford  were  much  alike,  they  and  their  supporters  agreed  that  the 
householders  in  a  joint  canvass  should  decide  who  should  retire  from 
the  contest.     This  canvass  took  place  on  the  i8th  March,  when  2675 
householders  were  in  favour  of  Mr.  Crawfurd,  and  2630  were  in  favour 
of  Mr.  Douglas,  and  he,  having  a  smaller  number  of  supporters, 
retired.     Both  of  these  gentlemen  took  most  freely  all  the  pledges 
which  brought  the  former  representative  into  trouble,  but  Captain 
Gordon  and  Sir  Daniel  declined  to  do  so,   the   latter,  however, 
promising  that  if  at  the  end  of  a  session,  when  giving  an  account  of 
his  Parhamentary  services,  a  majority  of  the  electors  should  require 
his  resignation,  he  would  comply.     The  candidates  were  nominated 
on  Wednesday,  19th  March.     Mr.  Crawfurd  was  proposed  by  Mr. 
C.  J.  Kennedy,  and  seconded  by  Mr.  Bell  of  Woodside.     Captain 
Gordon  was  proposed  by  Mr.  William  Lowndes,  and  seconded  by 
Mr.   William   Fulton.     Sir  Daniel   K.  Sandford  was  proposed  by 
Mr.  William  Maxwell,  and  seconded  by  Mr.  Joseph  Twigg.     The 
show  of  hands  was  in  favour  of  Mr.   Crawfurd  ;  but  a  poll  being 
demanded,  it  was  fixed  to  take  place  on  Friday  and  Saturday,  the 
2ist  and  22nd  March- — two  days  of  exciting  interest.     At  the  close 
of  the  poll,  the  numbers  were  declared  as  follows  : — 

Sir  D.  K.  Sandford,      ...  ...  ...  542 

Mr.  Crawfurd,   ...  ...  ...  ...  509 

Captain  Gordon,  ...  ...  ...  29 

Shortly  after  the  election  was  over,  there  was  published,  in 
pamphlet  form,  "  The  Elector's  Guide,"  being  a  list  of  the  con- 
stituency of  Paisley  who  polled  at  the  election  of  a  member  of  Parlia- 
ment in  1834,  and  of  those  voters  who  did  not  exercise  the  franchise. 

Sir  D.  K.  Sandford's  representation  of  Paisley  in  Parliament  was 
of  very  short  duration.  In  a  letter  dated  2nd  September  in  that 
year,  addressed  to  the  electors  of  Paisley,  he  stated,  "  with  deep 
regret  I  find  myself  compelled  to  announce  that  it  will  not  be  in  my 
power  to  undertake  in  another  Session  of  Parliament  the  honourable 
duties  which  your  flattering  choice  so  lately  imposed  upon  me. 
The  state  of  my  health,  and  my  certain  conviction  that  it  would 
unfit  me  for  discharging  the  functions  of  a  legislator  with  the 
assiduity  and  vigour  justly  required  in  the  representation  of  a  great 
community,  form  my  sole  reasons  for  breaking  a  tie  by  which  I  had 
fondly  hoped  to  be  long  connected  with  the  citizens  of  Paisley."' 

The  election  of  another  representative  took  place  on  the  14th 
January,  1835.  The  candidates  were  Mr.  Horatio  Ross  of  Rossie, 
and  Mr.  Speirs,  cotton -spinner,  Culcreuch.  The  former  was  pro- 
posed  by  Mr.   Alexander  Carlile,  and  seconded  by  Mr.   Robert 


1825    TILL    1850.  275 

Cochran,  late  merchant;  and  the  latter  was  proposed  by  Mr. 
Robert  Orr,  l.ylesland,  and  seconded  by  Mr.  Campbell  Snodgrass, 
Thornhill.  The  show  of  hands  was  greatly  in  favour  of  Mr.  Speirs; 
but  as  a  poll  was  demanded  on  the  part  of  Mr.  Ross's  friends,  the 
Sheriff  fixed  the  polling  to  take  place  on  Friday  and  Saturday,  the 
1 6th  and  17  th.  On  the  first  day  11 34  voted  for  Mr.  Speirs,  and 
477  for  Mr.  Ross.  The  poll,  however,  did  not  require  to  be  opened 
on  the  second  day,  as  Mr.  Ross  consented  to  its  final  close  on  the 
first  day.  At  this  election  intimidation  prevailed  to  a  considerable 
extent  against  the  supporters  of  Mr.  Ross.^ 

Mr.  A.  G.  Speirs,  like  his  predecessor.  Sir  D.  K.  Sandford,  did 
not  long  continue  to  represent  Paisley  in  Parliament.  On  the  ist 
March,  1836,  the  Provost  received  a  letter  from  Mr.  Speirs, 
intimating  that  the  necessity  of  giving  greater  attention  to  his 
personal  business,  precluded  him  from  continuing  his  parliamentary 
duties,  and  that  he  had,  therefore,  applied  for  the  Chiltern 
Hundreds.  Two  candidates  came  forward  at  once,  and  oftered 
their  services  to  represent  the  town  in  Parliament, —  Mr.  Archibald 
Hastie,  merchant,  London,  a  native  of  Paisley,  and  Mr.  James 
Ay  ton,  advocate,  Edinburgh.  Monday,  14th  March,  was  the  day 
appointed  by  the  Sheriff  for  the  nomination  of  candidates.  Mr. 
Ayton  was  proposed  by  Provost  Hardie,  and  seconded  by  Mr. 
Hugh  M'Farlane.  Mr.  Hastie  was  proposed  by  Mr.  Robert  Orr, 
Lylesland,  and  seconded  by  Mr.  William  Brown,  Egypt  Park.  The 
show  of  hands  was  decidedly  in  favour  of  Mr.  Ayton  ;  but  as  a  poll 
was  demanded,  it  was  fixed  to  take  place  on  Wednesday  the  i6th. 
When  the  poll -books  were  opened  on  Thursday  by  the  Sheriff,  the 
votes  were  declared  to  be — 

For  Mr.  Hastie,  680 

For  Mr.  Ayton,  ...  ...  ...         529 

Majority  for  Mr.  Hastie, • 151  ^ 

^  Various  meetings  of  non- electors  were  held  in  different  districts  for  the 
avowed  purpose  of  coercing  electors,  and  of  constraining  them  to  vote  for  the 
popular  candidate.  Resolutions  were  drawn  up  and  printed  with  this  object  in 
view,  and  numerous  committees  waited  on  the  electors  in  order  to  bring  them 
over  to  the  popular  candidate.  The  following  are  the  resolutions  appended  to 
an  address  from  one  of  the  districts:  -  (i)  "That  we  shall  hold  those  electors 
who  refuse  to  vote  for  the  Liberal  candidate,  or  who  will  give  their  vote  to  any 
candidate  in  favour  of  a  Tory  administration,  as  enemies  to  the  common  weal, 
and  be  kept  in  remembrance  for  time  coming;  and  further,  that  we  shall  with- 
hold our  support  from  all  the  electors  who  liave  voted  for  an  illiberal  candidate. 

(2)  That  a  committee  be  appointed,  consisting  of  three  men  from  each  street  in 
the  district,  to  call  on  those  electors  that  are  within  the  sphere  of  our  influence, 
for  the  purpose  of  persuading  them  to  vote  for  the  Liberal  candidate,  Mr.  Speirs. 

(3)  That  every  support  shall  be  given  those  electors  who  will  vote  agreeably  to 
the  Liberal  interest.  (4)  That  we  will  endeavour  to  get  a  list  of  those  electors 
who  have  voted  for  the  Liberal  candidate;  and  also  a  list  of  those  who  have  not ; 
and  that  the  same  shall  be  published  and  circulated  among  the  non -electors,  that 
they  may  see  who  are  their  friends.  (5)  That  the  non  -  electors  in  said  district  shall 
subscribe  the  resolutions  agreed  to  at  this  meeting." — Paisley,  13th  Jan.,  1835. 

*  At  this  time  there  was  published  in  pamphlet  form  a  list  of  the  electors  who 
voted  for  Mr.  Hastie  and  Mr.  Ayton,  distinguishing  the  supporters  of  Mr.  Speirs 
and  Mr.  Ross. 


276  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

Both  the  candidates,  during  the  contest,  agreed  in  writing  to  all 
the  pledges  that  were  submitted  to  them.  The  seventh  pledge 
was — "  That  at  the  end  of  every  session  he  shall  appear  before  his 
constituents,  at  a  public  meeting  properly  intimated,  and  give  an 
account  of  his  conduct  in  Parliament  during  the  session,  and  if  then 
required  to  do  so  by  a  majority  of  the  constituency,  he  shall  at  once 
resign IJiis  Parliamentary  trust  into  their  hands."  With  admirable 
tact,  Mr.  Hastie  promised  a  great  deal  more  than  they  asked, 
knowing  well  that  a  majority  of  the  electors  could  never  be  obtained 
to  demand  of  him  the  doing  of  any  such  thing.  His  answer  was — 
"  Not  only  am  I  willing  to  comply  with  this  resolution,  but  I  go 
further.  I  shall  feel  it  my  duty  at  any  time,  either  during  session 
or  vacation,  to  present  myself  before  the  constituency  when  called 
on  so  to  do." 

In  the  summer  of  1831  cholera  morbus,  after  destroying  many 
lives  in  India,  travelled  to  the  north-west  of  Europe.  In  Hamburg 
that  dreaded  malady  made  considerable  havoc  among  the  popula- 
tion, and  in  October  in  that  year  it  was  brought  across  by  some 
vessels  to  Sunderland.  It  excited,  not  without  good  cause,  great 
alarm  throughout  the  whole  country,  and  precautions  were  taken  in 
every  village  and  town  to  avert  this  pestilence,  or  at  anyrate  to 
diminish  its  virulence.  In  Paisley  measures  were  adopted  to 
establish,  under  the  powers  of  the  Privy  Council,  a  Board  of  Health. 
The  first  meeting  to  consider  the  precautions  necessary  to  be 
adopted  for  preventing  the  introduction  and  spread  of  cholera 
morbus  was  held  on  the  12th  November,  1831,  andwas  attended 
by  the  Magistrates,  the  Sheriff-Substitute,  and  a  committee  of  the 
medical  practitioners.  The  meeting  agreed  to  the  following  highly 
sensible  and  business-like  resolutions  : — 

"  I  St.  That  an  interim  Board  of  Health  for  Paisley  and  its  suburbs 
within  the  bounds  of  police,  be  now  established,  consisting  of  the 
Magistrates  of  Paisley,  the  Sheriff-Substitute,  the  ministers  of  the 
town  and  Abbey  Parishes,  and  a  committee  of  three  medical 
practitioners,  to  be  nominated  by  themselves,  and  of  the  inhabitants 
after-named,  viz.:  —  Mr.  Farquharson,  Mr.  Bissland,  Mr.  William 
Sharp,  and  Mr.  William  Orr.  One  of  the  Medical  Committee  will 
have  the  charge  of  corresponding  with  the  Board  of  Health  in 
London. 

"  2nd.  That  the  town  and  suburbs,  for  the  purposes  of  health,  be 
divided  into  districts,  —  each  police  ward  forming  a  district,  —  and 
the  Commissioners  of  Police  of  these  wards  to  be  the  District  Com- 
mittee, in  conjunction  with  one  medical  practitioner  at  least  for 
each  ward.  The  business  of  the  committees  will  be  to  watch  over 
the  state  of  health  in  the  several  wards  and  to  give  the  earliest 
information  of  everything  material  to  the  Board,  and  to  carry  into 
effect  such  measures  as  the  Board  will  adopt. 

"  3rd.  That  in  the  meantime  it  is  most  earnestly  recommended 


1825    TILL    1850.  277 

that  the  committee  for  each  ward  cause  speedy  and  efficacious 
means  to  be  taken  for  promoting  cleanHness,  by  the  removal  of 
dunghills  of  unnecessary  size,  all  other  impurities,  and  stagnant 
water  from  closes  and  from  behind  houses,  and  to  cause  the  interior  of 
houses  to  be  cleaned  and  washed  with  lime,  soap,  lees,  or  other  proper 
fluid,  and  to  secure  proper  ventilation,  especially  in  small  crowded 
apartments. 

"4th.  That  proclamation  be  immediately  published  by  the 
Magistracy,  calculated  to  give  effect  to  the  important  object  in  view. 

"  5th.  That  a  fund  be  raised  by  subscription  for  defraying  any 
contingent  expenses  which  may  be  found  necessary,  and  for  which 
there  is  no  other  available  fund. 

"  6th.  That  a  copy  of  these  resolutions  be  communicated  to  each 
of  the  Boards  of  Police  of  the  town  and  suburbs,  respectfully  calling 
for  their  prompt  co-operation.  The  medical  gentlemen  will  be  glad 
to  hold  communication  with  a  meeting  of  the  whole  Commissioners 
of  Police  for  the  burgh  and  suburbs,  on  notice  being  given  by  the 
Commissioners  of  the  time  and  place  of  such  meeting  to  Dr.  Kerr. 

"  7th.  Mr.  Gavin  Lang  is  named  secretary  of  the  Board." 

The  second  meeting  of  the  Board  was  held  on  12th  December, 
and  nominated  Dr.  M'Kinlay  to  correspond  with  the  Board  in 
London.  The  meeting  also  declared  the  Board  to  be  permanent, 
the  names  of  the  members,  including  those  added  at  this  time,  being 
as  follows:  —  Alexander  Campbell,  Esq.,  Sheriff- Substitute;  Provost 
Gilmour  ;  Bailies  Lymburn,  Buchanan,  Hart;  Rev.  Dr.  Burns;  Rev. 
Messrs.  Geddes,  Begg,  M'Nair,  Brewster,  Smart,  M'Dermid,  and 
Symington  ;  Doctors  M'Kechnie,  Kerr,  M'Kinlay,  Wylie,  Rodman  ; 
Messrs.  Farquharson,  Bissland,  Sharp,  and  Orr.  Provost  Gilmour 
was  appointed  chairman  of  the  Board. 

At  a  meeting  of  the  Board  held  on  21st  December,  a  revised 
draft  of  an  address  to  the  inhabitants  was  read  and  approved  of, 
and  1000  copies  were  ordered  to  be  printed  and  circulated  among 
the  inhabitants.^ 

1  "Board  of  Health  —  General  Directions. 

"  Visitofs.  —  I.  Visitors  are  to  inspect  and  report  on  all  nuisances  or  other 
matters  connected  with  the  health  of  the  inhabitants  of  their  respective  sub- 
divisions ;  and  they  ought  to  keep  small  books  for  engrossing  the  substance  of 
what  is  reported,  and  make  renewed  complaints  when  grievances  are  not 
attended  to.  2.  Their  attention  should  not  only  be  directed  to  what  is  objection- 
able  out  of  doors,  but  also  to  the  interior  of  houses,  and  the  condition,  as  to 
cleanliness  and  comfort,  of  the  inmates.  3.  Cases  of  cholera,  with  the  general 
health  of  the  quarter,  should  be  regidarly  noticed.  4.  Visitors  are  to  order  any 
thing  likely  to  engender  disease  to  be  removed  or  remedied  immediately,  under 
certification  that  the  pains  of  law  will  be  enforced  against  the  parties  who  fail  to 
comply.  5.  Visitors  should  specify  in  their  reports  the  means  necessary,  and 
the  parties  liable,  to  remove  any  ground  of  complaint.  6.  Visitors  \\-ill  instruct 
the  people  whom  they  visit  as  to  the  method  of  applying  for  medicines  and  other 
supplies,  as  well  as  medical  aid,  and  give  every  information  and  advice  in  their 
power   to   the  Fumigating  and  Cleansing  Committee  of  the    Central    Board, 


278  HISTORY  OF  PAISLEY. 

A  public  meeting  of  the  inhabitants  —  Provost  Gilmour  pre- 
siding—  was  held  in  the  Court-hall  on  27th  January,  1832,  for  the 
purpose  of  promoting  means  for  defraying  the  expenses  which  may 
be  necessary  in  endeavouring  to  arrest  or  mitigate  the  fatal  progress 
of  cholera ;  and  in  particular  for  bringing  within  the  reach  of  the 
working-classes  of  the  inhabitants  the  means  necessary  for  domestic 
cleanliness,  and  whatever  other  preventives  and  remedies  may  be 
found  essential  to  alleviate  the  sufferings  of  the  poor  and  those 
diseased.  Mr.  William  Bissland  was  appointed  treasurer  to  this 
fund.  At  the  meeting  immediately  thereafter,  ;^579  8s.  was 
subscribed  by  120  of  the  inhabitants. 

On  26th  January  a  proclamation  was  issued  by  the  Sheriff  of 
Renfrewshire  and  the  Provost  and  other  Magistrates  of  Paisley, 
prohibiting  all  public  begging,  as  there  was  reason  to  fear  that 
disease  might  be  communicated  by  vagrants  passing  from  place  to 
place.  And  it  was  recommended  to  the  inhabitants  to  give  nothing 
to  vagrant  beggars.  Two  days  afterwards  the  same  authority  issued 
a  proclamat